Wall, Beal help Wiz rout lowly Nets

Pair com­bines for 52 points; Brook­lyn loses sixth straight

Sunday Star - - SPORTS - (WPNS)

Wizards 102 — Nets 88 WASH­ING­TON — John Wall emerged from the Wash­ing­ton Wizards locker room in his socks af­ter half­time on Satur­day night, walk­ing shoe­less onto the Cap­i­tal One Arena court just a few min­utes be­fore his team re­sumed play against the Brook­lyn Nets.

He had played per­haps his best ball of the week in a pair of lime-green Adi­das sneak­ers in the first half, but Wall was look­ing to el­e­vate his game in the sec­ond half. He switched into a new pair of red and white shoes, look­ing de­ter­mined to pull his team out of slump af­ter con­sec­u­tive blowout losses on the road ear­lier this week.

With his team cling­ing to a slim three­p­oint lead against the medi­ocre Nets, it didn’t mat­ter what kicks Wall was wear­ing. He helped ig­nite an 11-0 run to start the third quar­ter, cap­ping it with an open 3-pointer to spark a 102-88 win Satur­day night.

Wall fin­ished with 30 points on 12-for-24 shoot­ing to go with nine as­sists and five re­bounds as the Wizards snapped a twogame los­ing skid. Wash­ing­ton (9-14) looked en­er­gized just a night af­ter los­ing by 25 at Philadel­phia and just three nights af­ter it was blown out by 21 at New Or­leans. It will play five of its next six on the road, a trip that may have been all the more dif­fi­cult had Wash­ing­ton not picked up trac­tion with a win at home against the strug­gling Nets (8-16).

That burst to be­gin the sec­ond half rep­re­sented hall­marks that have been ab­sent so of­ten dur­ing what has been a try­ing early season for the Wizards. It fea­tured scor­ing from all five starters, be­gin­ning with a run­ner from Otto Porter Jr., who missed Fri­day night’s game at Philadel­phia to at­tend to a fam­ily mat­ter. He re­turned to the start­ing lineup Satur­day, and al­though he fin­ished with just seven points, his pres­ence im­pacted the game on both ends of the floor as he fin­ished with 11 re­bounds and three steals.

That run was also bol­stered by dunks from Thomas Bryant, the young cen­ter who is fill­ing in for the in­jured Dwight Howard, and with To­mas Sa­toran­sky, who got a start and fin­ished with seven points in 26 min­utes.

Wall scored 14 points in the first half, hav­ing his way with Brook­lyn’s young back­court, while team­mate Bradley Beal set­tled into a groove af­ter a slow start and fin­ished with 22 points.

Wash­ing­ton al­lowed just 39 points in the first half, the low­est it had al­lowed dur­ing

a half all season, but led by just three as it walked back to the locker room. That

mar­gin could’ve been much more con­sid­er­ing the Wizards had led by 12 at one point in the sec­ond quar­ter and held Brook­lyn to just 33.3 per­cent shoot­ing in the first half. Wash­ing­ton also outscored Brook­lyn

24-16 in the paint over the first two quar­ters, yet there stretches where in­jured cen­ter Howard’s ab­sence con­tin­ued to glare.

Brook­lyn shot just 30 of

81 from the field (30 per­cent) and com­mit­ted 17

turnovers.

Wash­ing­ton was also buoyed by its bench Satur­day, even as for­ward Jeff Green missed an­other game with lower back spasms. Austin Rivers opened the fourth quar­ter

with a 3-pointer, and Marki­eff Mor­ris came up with a steal in the open floor and dished to Beal for a dunk.

Rivers fed Mor­ris (20 points) in the post on the next play to push the lead to 13. Wash­ing­ton then

found it­self in position to do some­thing it has had few chances to do this season: close a big lead out in the fourth quar­ter. It fol­lowed through, us­ing a small-ball lineup to hit 14 of its fi­nal 18 shots.

AP PHOTO

Wizards guard Bradley Beal goes to the bas­ket past Nets guard Shabazz Napier dur­ing the first half of Satur­day’s game.

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