Wizards 96, Hornets 87

Elliott Smith, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- John Wall's shooting stroke was on full display as the guard scored a season-high 29 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 96-87 victory Friday over the New Orleans Hornets.
Not known for his outside shooting, Wall was feeling it against the Hornets, connecting on 12 of 15 from the floor and tying a career-high with three 3-pointers to lift Washington to its second straight victory.
Wall made his presence felt in the third quarter, as Washington broke a 50-50 halftime tie thanks to 14 points in the period from Wall, who grew more confident with each made shot. After draining a jumper to make the score 70-62 with 1:40 left in the period, the third-year guard ran up the court nodding his head.
During his last three games, Wall is averaging 26.3 points, 11.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds. Wall's previous season-high was 27 points against Cleveland on March 12.
After a solid first half in which he scored 12 points, Hornets rookie Anthony Davis picked up his fourth foul with 11:17 remaining in the third quarter. New Orleans struggled to find the easy baskets it did in the first half, when the Hornets had 26 points in the paint.
After 14 first-half lead changes, New Orleans fell behind on the first possession of the second half and never regained the advantage, despite the efforts of Eric Gordon, who tallied 20 points, and Greivis Vasquez, who had 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
The Hornets closed to within 83-77 midway through the fourth quarter, but Washington scored eight straight points, capped by a spinning layup from Wall to make the score 91-77 with 4:09 remaining.
Martell Webster added 18 points for the Wizards, who beat New Orleans for the first time at home since March 2, 2008.
NOTES: New Orleans coach Monty Williams went to nearby Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, Md., making the Hornets' first trip to D.C. in more than two years somewhat of a homecoming. "I'm sure there will be a lot of people here that I don't even know about," he said. "This is where I cut my teeth." ... Washington guards Bradley Beal (ankle) and A.J. Price (groin) did not play. Beal has missed six straight games, while Price has missed the last two. ... With the Wizards hosting Phoenix on Saturday, coach Randy Wittman wasn't concerned about limiting minutes for his veteran big man Nene on a quick turnaround. "If I got players that want to play, they're going to play," Wittman said. ... Hornets forward Ryan Anderson returned to action after missing his first game of the season Wednesday against Brooklyn with a viral infection.

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