76ers end 3-game skid

WASHINGTON -- As it turns out, neither the Philadelphia 76ers nor the Washington Wizards wound up achieving their desired in-season goals. Two games earlier Philadelphia officially had its playoff hopes snuffed out. On Friday, the 76ers, led by Jrue Holiday, ended their recent skid and Washington's modest hopes of a ninth-place finish.

Holiday scored 22 points, Thaddeus Young had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the 76ers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 97-86 win over the Wizards.

Damien Wilkins and Spencer Hawes each scored 15 points for the 76ers (32-47), who had lost four of five games, including two straight after being eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race.

"I think whether it's a conscious thing or a subconscious thing, when you officially get eliminated, it kind of hits you, it takes some of the wind out of your sails," Hawes said. "But then you regroup and refocus and try to take out of it whatever you can the last however-many games."

John Wall paced the Wizards (29-51) with 24 points and seven assists. Though they improved throughout the season following Wall's return from a knee injury, the Wizards have now lost four straight with two games remaining. Washington shot 1-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc and committed 17 turnovers.

After starting the season with a 4-28 record, the Wizards steadily improved to the point where a ninth-place finish became the goal. The loss to the team currently in that slot ensured they would come up short.

"It's disappointing," said Wizards forward Trevor Booker, who scored 10 points. "It was our goal after the All-Star break. We came so close. We were playing so well. But we've got two games left, and we can have something to build on for next season."

Tied at 59-59 with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Hawes' layup started a 12-0 run that put the 76ers ahead for good. The lead never dipped below six points from there, and Holiday's layup gave Philadelphia its largest advantage at 92-78.

"We lost our focus and stopped doing the things that we needed to do," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "It became a pickup game."

Holiday had only one assist in each of his previous two games, but the All-Star guard had seven against the Wizards.

"Much more assertive," 76ers coach Doug Collins said of his point guard. "I don't know if it's been a combination of physical and mental fatigue where he's been just a little indecisive, but tonight he took good care of the ball."

Before the game, reporters attempted to speak with Collins about conflicting media reports regarding his job security for next season.

Collins had no interest in playing along.

"Let's move forward to the basketball game," the coach barked. "We have four more games to play. I've told you all along I'm not the topic of conversation. We're going to focus on the games and play those. We'll sit down at the end of the season as we've always done. I've got a wonderful relationship with [76ers owner] Josh Harris and we will discuss what we need to do next year."

Kevin Seraphin also scored 10 for the Wizards. Despite the loss, Washington ended with a 22-19 home record, finishing above .500 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Wall went 6-for-7 from the field for 13 points in the first quarter, but missed 11 of his final 14 attempts. The Wizards assisted on their first eight field goal attempts and held a 13-point lead in the second quarter.

However, the lead was only 49-48 at halftime as the 76ers closed the half with a 17-6 run, the final five points coming from Holiday.

The Wizards remain one victory shy of 30. Washington has not won at least 30 games in a season since claiming 43 during the 2007-08 season. Since Wall's return on January 12, Washington is 24-23.

Notes: Evan Turner also had seven assists for the 76ers, but he missed all 11 of his field goal attempts. ...The Wizards played without small forwards Martell Webster (abdominal strain) and Trevor Ariza (sore left knee). Cartier Martin replaced Webster in the staring lineup. Ariza has missed three straight games. ... Sixers guard Nick Young went scoreless in nine minutes of action in his first game at the Verizon Center since being traded by the Wizards to the Los Angeles Clippers midway through the 2011-12 season. Washington's first-round pick in 2007, Young missed Philadelphia's previous game in the Nation's Capital in March with a left foot injury. ... The Wizards face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday before wrapping up the season in Chicago against the Bulls on Wednesday. ... The 76ers next play Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the final home game of the season.