Wall, Beal help Wiz rout lowly Nets
Pair combines for 52 points; Brooklyn loses sixth straight
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
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.
Wizards guard Bradley Beal goes to the basket past Nets guard Shabazz Napier during the first half of Saturday’s game.