Well on their way to a blowout of the Phoenix Suns, the Wizards wasted a 22-point lead, fell down by 11 themselves and had to come back to win 131-127 on Tuesday night to sweep the season series.
The Wizards (38-24) trailed 81-70 midway through the third quarter but righted themselves with a 24-11 run.
The game turned at 10:45 of the second quarter when Jared Dudley took exception to a foul by Jason Smith when he set a hard screen on Tyler Ulis. Dudley ran full speed and chest bumped Smith and Brandon Jennings entered the fray.
Punches weren’t thrown but Dudley and Jennings were ejected. The Wizards led 44-29 shortly after that but had the deficit cut to 68-61 by halftime.
Bradley Beal (27 points) led Washington, followed by John Wall (25 points, 14 assists), Bojan Bogdanovic (29 points, nine rebounds), Jason Smith (17 points, six rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (15 points, nine rebounds, career-high seven steals). Bogdanovic's 29 points were a season-high for a Wizards reserve.
Phoenix (21-43) was led by Eric Bledsoe (30 points) but had too many players in foul trouble in the end to mount a comeback.
Wall looked sluggish early but finished strong as the Wizards broke open a 110-110 tie with an 8-0 run. They stretched it to double digits in the final two minutes in the first of five road games.
--The Suns got back in it because of their transition play. They scored a season-high 53 points on the break, 26 more than the Wizards who weren’t as crisp getting back to stop their rim runs after getting a comfortable lead.
--Devin Booker (25 points) had six turnovers in the first half, and a lot of them came when he was trying to run the pick-and-roll at Mahinmi who is good at containment and has good hands. Mahinmi had five steals alone in his first 14 minutes on the floor.
--Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris were non-entities. They combined to shoot 5-for-19 from the field. When the Wizards tried to play through Morris and Gortat in the post to open the third quarter they were unsuccessful as Phoenix went on a 15-2 run to take a 76-70 lead. Gortat, however, did make two key plays in the final four minutes when he converted a pass from Wall for a layup and a 115-110 lead and then took a charge on Marquese Chriss (nine points) to negate a basket.
--Morris and Wall were disconnected so badly that during Phoenix’s run in the second quarter, they attempted a switch that led to Bledsoe’s open three. There was a lot of confusion in trying to counter Phoenix’s small lineups. Bledsoe shoots just 33% from three, but when he gets an open shot his accuracy -- like with most players -- rises. He drained it in the comeback from 22 down. Morris wanted the switch. Wall didn't. And Wall allowed a late three-point look from Booker when he hesitated on whether or not to run at the shooter. Fortunately for him, Booker missed but indecisions such as this were why Phoenix made 13 of 27 threes, or 48.1%.
--Trey Burke hadn’t played in the previous four games but Wall needed a breather to end the third. He was quickly stripped by Ulis and committed a foul to put him at the line. Ulis made 1 of 2 free throws but Williams got the rebound on the miss for a putback to make it a three-point play for Phoenix. Burke started the fourth quarter and was short on his first shot. The Wizards lost their lead three minutes into it and had to go to Beal instead.