Wall's late baskets help Wizards beat 76ers

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

By Benjamin Standig

WASHINGTON -- The primary knock on John Wall early in his career was his suspect perimeter shooting. With his team trailing late in the game and his backcourt partner hobbled, the Wizards point guard used his outside touch to finish off the Philadelphia 76ers.
Wall scored 16 points, including seven in the final 93 seconds, and Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 16 rebounds as the Washington Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak with a 90-87 win over the 76ers on Sunday night.
"I've proven myself in college. I just have to keep proving myself," said Wall, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft. "I like the ball at the end of games. On those types of plays, you want to be the hero, you want to have the pressure. Sometimes you're going to succeed, sometimes you're going to fail. As long as you have confidence and believe in your ability, you're going to be all right."
The Wizards (19-39) hope leading-scorer Bradley Beal will be all right after the rookie sprained his left ankle late in the fourth quarter following a collision with teammate Nene while defending 76ers guard Jrue Holiday.
Beal finished with 14 points as all five Washington starters scored in double figures, including Martell Webster with 16 points.
"I got an X-ray, and there were good views," Beal said after the Wizards improved to 8-4 over their last 12 games. "It looks normal. I'll just have to see how it feels tomorrow."
Dorell Wright scored 15 points for the 76ers (23-35) and Holiday tallied seven of his 14 points during their own fourth-quarter rally. Holiday missed 12 of his first 14 field-goal attempts, but the All-Star guard's jumper, 3-pointer and two free throws capped a 13 -2 run, putting Philadelphia up 85-82 with 2:50 remaining.
Shortly after Beal left the court, Wall took over. He sank a jumper and then hit two free throws, putting Washington back up 88-87 with 1:04 left. On Philadelphia's next scoring chance, Wall blocked Evan Turner's shot before the crowd of 17,370.
After Nene's offensive rebound gave the Wizards an extra possession, Wall capitalized by draining a long jumper with 4.9 seconds remaining.
Washington's record improved to 14-11 since Wall returned on Jan. 12 from a knee injury.
"I've been more comfortable taking them," said Wall, who made 7 of 11 field-goal attempts. "I know defenses are going to play off me and give them to me. Just got to take it with confidence."
Wright made three 3-pointers in the game, but missed a game-tying attempt from the left corner.
The 76ers have lost eight of nine games.
"We had some bad breaks and John, like he is, always makes something happen," said Holiday. "It's obviously tough when you are coming back like that and lose the game."
Spencer Hawes had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young also had 14 points for Philadelphia. The 76ers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 104-97 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, but are 2-12 in the second game of back-to-back scenarios this season.
"After the big win last night our team was in high spirits," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "Our guys gave great effort."
Turnovers have also plagued Wall recently. He had five in Friday's home loss to New York and committed at least that many in five of his previous eight games. Though Washington committed 10 of its 16 turnovers in the second half against Philadelphia, Wall only had two overall, with six assists.
"One thing we had to clean up was me having a lot of turnovers," Wall said. "When we're getting turnovers in the last two minutes, we don't get a shot up. At least you get a shot up, give yourself a chance to get a rebound and get another possession. That's one thing we did better."
Returning to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sore right shoulder, Nene scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half as Washington led 50-49.
Wright sank his first three 3-point attempts and had 13 points before halftime.
Notes: Sixers guard Nick Young, who spent the first four-and-a-half years of his career with the Wizards, missed his second straight game with a left ankle sprain. Young has not played in Washington since the deadline deal last season shipped him to the Los Angeles Clippers. Royal Ivey started in Young's place. ... Wizards guard A.J. Price (quad contusion) returned after sitting out Friday's loss to the Knicks. ... Over his previous five games, Beal averaged 20.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. ... Washington's Jan Vesely, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 draft, played for the first time since Feb. 8. ... The Wizards start a two-game road swing Wednesday against the Timberwolves. ...The 76ers return home for a Tuesday meeting against the Celtics before heading back on the road for a three-game trip.

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