With Wall out, Sessions steps up, Wizards beat Nets 121-103
WASHINGTON (AP) With John Wall sidelined by a sore and swollen right knee, Ramon Sessions stepped in to help the Washington Wizards prolong their playoff hopes for at least another game.
Sessions scored 18 points and had a season-high 13 assists in his first start of the season as the Wizards defeat the Brooklyn Nets 121-103 on Wednesday night.
''Just going out there from (the) jumpstart knowing John is down, I've just got to pick up the minutes,'' said Sessions, who learned he would be starting an hour before tipoff. ''I was just trying to keep pushing the pace and just play my game.''
Bradley Beal scored 25 points, and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and 12 rebounds as Washington clung to life in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
With Detroit defeating Orlando, the 10th-place Wizards (38-40) need to win out, have the Pistons (42-37) lose out and overcome ninth-place Chicago (39-39) to make the playoffs.
To make that happen, Washington will likely need Wall to return from an ailment that forced him to miss his first game since last year's Eastern Conference semifinals.
''He had some swelling in (the knee) unlike it had had this year,'' coach Randy Wittman said of his All-Star point guard. ''I didn't think he wasn't going to play, because he's played 77 games. But I had an idea. And then we came in here and it wasn't much better than it was this morning, we said shut it down.''
Washington visits Detroit on Friday.
Thomas Robinson scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Nets, who have lost six straight games by an average of 19.3 points.
Sean Kilpatrick added 15 points off the bench as Brooklyn sent out its 20th starting lineup of the season. The Nets were outrebounded 53-38 after it was announced center Brook Lopez and forward Thaddeus Young would be rested for the remainder of the season.
''We knew there was going to be a discrepancy on the boards,'' interim coach Tony Brown said. ''I'll give them that, but there are still a lot more things we could've done.''
Wall has been the one sure thing in Washington's inconsistent season, averaging a career-best 19.9 points and 10.2 assists.
But in his first start of the year, Sessions picked up the slack and had 10 of his assists by halftime, helping the Wizards to a two-point lead at the break. After halftime, he marshaled an offense that turned it over only twice while the defense forced Brooklyn into eight giveaways.
''Ramon played great,'' Wittman said. ''I thought he kept a good pace to the game, and for us as a team to have 36 assists on 48 baskets, it doesn't get much better than that.''
Sessions become the first Wizards player other than Wall to have 10 assists in the first half since Antonio Daniels did it in April 2007.
Had he equaled that pace after halftime, he would've still fallen short of his career high of 24, set as a rookie with Milwaukee in a loss to Chicago in April 2008.
Nets: Brooklyn signed C Henry Sims for the remainder of the season. ... Reserve G Donald Sloan returned after missing Sunday's loss. ... Reserve F/C Willie Reed has left the team for the remainder of the season for personal reasons.
Wizards: In the second quarter, Otto Porter hit an apparent 3-pointer that was waived off three possessions later for a shot clock violation. ... G/F Alan Anderson missed his ninth straight game.
Nets: At Charlotte on Friday.
Wizards: At Detroit on Friday.