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Wizards complete one-week sweep of Suns

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Without center Emeka Okafor, the Washington Wizards leaned on their bench to build a big lead Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns. However, when it came to crunch time in the fourth quarter, it was the starting point guard who took control.

Wall had six of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter and finished with eight assists as the Wizards gave back much of an 18-point lead before completing their second win over the Suns in five days, taking an 88-79 decision at US Airways Center.

Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Ariza added 16 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench for Washington. Twenty-eight of the duo's 30 points came in the first half, when the Wizards reserves sparked a 17-2 second-quarter run and took over the game. Washington (24-43) improved to 19-15 since Wall returned from knee surgery on Jan. 12.

"Give credit to the second unit. They really boosted our play and got us up big," Wall said. "That's what we pride ourselves on. Any given night, someone else can lead our team in scoring because we're so versatile."

Nene added 17 points and eight rebounds as Washington overcame Okafor's bout with the flu. The Wizards committed 21 turnovers and endured some cold shooting in a 29-point second half, but they swept the season series against the Suns for the second time since the 1987-88 season. Washington did it while holding Phoenix under 100 points for the first time in the last 20 meetings.

The Suns had beaten the Wizards 10 straight times before the past week.

Phoenix (23-46) trailed by as many as 18 points in the second quarter but cut the lead to nine after three quarters and got as close as 75-72 on Hamed Haddadi layup with 8:38 left. But the Wizards reeled off the next seven straight points, with Wall's 18-footer restoring the Washington lead to 82-73 with 6:34 left. Phoenix never got closer than five from there.

"Defensively we won the game," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Defensively, we got back to the team we recognize. Coming off a game where we had a down stretch (a 119-114 loss in Charlotte on Monday), to bounce back against a team we just played (five) days ago ... it's hard to be a team twice in a turnaround like that."

Goran Dragic had 18 points and 11 assists, and Wesley Johnson added 18 points for the Suns, who were blown out 127-105 in Washington but hung around a little longer this time. Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points and six rebounds before leaving the game with a calf injury late in the fourth quarter.

The Suns played inspired basketball in a 99-76 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, but they had little magic left for the Wizards. Jared Dudley was limited to eight minutes by the flu, and coach Lindsey Hunter was most disappointed with the effort from his young players. Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris (scoreless in 17 combined minutes), Michael Beasley and Kendall Marshall all sat during the second half when the Suns rallied.

"It wasn't about the mistakes they made, it was about the effort," Hunter said. "It was about fight and a sense of urgency. This is unacceptable. That is part of the reason they sat and watched. We are going to play the guys who play the way we want to play and the way we're going to play.

"I told Marcus and Markieff if you're not going to go out and compete, you will watch the guys that will."

The Wizards also overcame the loss of guard Bradley Beal, who he reinjured his left ankle with 10 minutes left. Beal missed six games with a left ankle sprain earlier this month and was in his third game back when he landed awkwardly while goaltending a Shannon Brown shot. Beal was assessed a technical foul on the play for throwing his mouthpiece away in disgust while on the ground in pain.

The Suns wiped out an early 5-0 deficit with an 11-2 run and led 26-19 on a Beasley layup with 1:34 left in the first quarter. However, the Wizards reserves scored the final six points of the quarter and then took over the game in the second.

With Wall, Nene and Martell Webster on the bench, Seraphin and Ariza combined to score 11 points during a 14-0 Wizards run, with Seraphin's nine-foot hook with 4:53 left giving Washington a 42-28 lead. Wall returned and followed an Ariza 3-pointer with a put-back layup to push Washington's lead to 18 with 2:51 to go before the break.

NOTES: Okafor had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Wizards' easy win over the Suns on Saturday. Jason Collins got the start for Washington on Wednesday and was scoreless in 17 minutes ... The last time the Wizards won in Phoenix -- 2,281 days ago -- they needed a US Airways Center record 54-point explosion from Gilbert Arenas to beat the Suns 144-139 in overtime (Dec. 22, 2006). The Suns were snowbound in Denver for two days and got back to Arizona three hours before tip-off. ... Talk about extremes, the Suns allowed a season-high 127 points in the blowout loss in Washington on Saturday, then allowed a season-low 76 points in a win over the Lakers at home on Sunday. That's a 51-point difference over 48 hours. ... Phoenix's run of 100 points against Washington in 19 straight meetings was the longest active streak by one team over another in the NBA. The last time the Wizards held the Suns under 100 points in a game -- Jan. 27, 2003 -- Michael Jordan started at guard for Washington.
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