Wizards 101, Thunder 99By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Mon, Jan 7, 2013 9:50 PM EST
WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal's one-handed, floating jumper with 0.3 seconds remaining propelled the Washington Wizards, owners of the NBA's worst record, to a stunning 101-99 win over the league-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Beal, a 19-year-old rookie, scored 22 points, including a four-point play in the third quarter. The Wizards (5-28) won their second straight over the Thunder (26-8) and snapped a six-game losing streak. The outcome was even more surprising considering Washington played without leading scorers Jordan Crawford and Nene. Washington pulled ahead with a 23-6 second-half run, then led by 10 in the fourth quarter. Martell Webster (22 points) completed a four-point play with 1:43 remaining to give the Wizards a 99-94 lead. After Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka hit a jumper and Washington missed two shots, Thunder star Kevin Durant, playing in his hometown, drained a game-tying 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining. A.J. Price misfired on the Wizards' first attempt at a go-ahead basket with 12 seconds left, but Washington retained possession and called timeout. Beal, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft, took the inbounds pass, maneuvered to the foul area, pump-faked two defenders and slid underneath for the cool game-winner. Russell Westbrook's heave at the buzzer missed for Thunder, who entered having won two straight. Durant led Oklahoma City with 29 points, and Ibaka added 26 points and 11 rebounds. Starting in place of Nene, Kevin Seraphin scored 19 points. His basket gave Washington its largest lead at 86-76. Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who lost by 28 points at Miami on Sunday. Beginning in the middle of the third quarter, the Thunder missed 16 consecutive shots, going nearly 11 minutes without a field goal. They finished 6-for-25 (24 percent) on 3-point attempts. In the only meeting between the two teams last season, Washington won 105-102 at home. The NBA's lowest scoring team, Washington matched its best first-quarter output this season and led 30-20, but the Thunder countered with a 33-point second quarter on 14-of-21 shooting. Durant scored 15 points in the half and Ibaka matched him by draining a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give Oklahoma City a 53-51 lead. The Wizards saw two players return to action, forward Trevor Ariza and guard A.J. Price. Ariza, who missed 17 games with a strained left calf suffered against Miami on Dec. 8, scored three points. Price, who sat out 15 games after fracturing his right hand on Dec. 8, finished with four points, five rebound and five assists. NOTES: Washington waived point guard Shelvin Mack. Recalled from the Development League on Dec. 25, the former Butler star averaged 5.3 points and 3.3 assists in seven games this season. The Wizards' 2011 second-round pick, Mack played in 64 games last season with Washington but was released before the start of this season before re-signing. ... Thunder coach Scott Brooks stated his understanding of the Wizards' poor start to the season, having directed Oklahoma City through a 3-29 record at the beginning of 2008-09. "I know how Randy feels," Brooks said, referring to Washington coach Randy Wittman. "It's not easy, because you don't see a lot of sunshine. But, they have good players that work hard, and eventually it turns around. ... Kevin Durant helps, also."
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