PHILADELPHIA -- Listless for most of three quarters, the Wizards avoided a near disaster Friday as they came back behind John Wall's effort to defeat the NBA's worst team at Wells Fargo Center 103-94.
Following a near lifeless performance in a 109-104 loss at the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, this was not only a must-win vs. the Philadelphia 76ers but with the Cleveland Cavaliers coming to D.C. for a game Sunday this easily could've turned into a three-game losing streak.
The Wizards trailed 72-66 after a jump shot by T.J. McConnell but ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run, with Wall scoring six of them, to regain the lead they'd never relinquish.
Wall (23 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds) led the Wizards (27-30), followed by Jared Dudley (14 points), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds), Ramon Sessions (12 points), Markieff Morris (10 points, seven rebounds) and Otto Porter (nine points, 10 rebounds, three steals).
J.J. Hickson, who joined the team earlier in the day after being signed as a free agent, wasn't active.
Jahlil Okafor (21 points) led the Sixers (8-50).
- The Sixers scored 52 first-half points and shot 46.5% from the field (20 of 43) but after the break they were kept to 42 points, shooting 15 of 39 (38.4%). They also were dominated on the boards with the Wizards having a 55-41 edge in rebounds (17-7 offensive).
- Okafor got most of his offense in transition off of turnovers or botched plays by the Wizards. When he was in the half court, especially faced up with Nene, he couldn't get a clean look. For his size, Okafor isn't a good rebounder (six). Nene had two more in 10 fewer minutes. Morris had more (seven) in 13 fewer minutes.
- The aggressive nature was evident in Porter early, who coach Randy Wittman said he'd talked to earlier in the day. Porter was 4 of 8 in the first half alone, five more shots than he took in 17 minutes of the previous game when he only was on the floor for four minutes in the second half. Porter missed all four shots he took in the third and had a miscommunication with Beal in transition that produced an uncontested layup for Jerami Grant. Porter kept at it but finished one point shy of his first double-double since Jan. 1.
- Beal's shooting woes from deep continue. He'd been on a tear since returning from his leg injury but in his last four games he's 4 of 21 from three-point range, including just 1 of 6 Friday.
- Morris was having such a better impact on the game that he started the third quarter over Dudley. Less than two minutes in, however, he picked up his fourth foul and had to go to the bench. Morris made 3 of 5 shots to start the game, and a miss included a three that rimmed out. Going forward, he should get more looks in the starting five.