WASHINGTON -- Winning the game once was not enough for the Washington Wizards. Showing up for only one quarter certainly did not pan out for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Washington let all of a 20-point lead slip away, but behind John Wall's latest double-double, the Wizards still came away with a 106-93 win Tuesday night.
The Wizards (21-42) went from up 66-46 early in the third quarter to trailing 78-75 entering the fourth after Ersan Ilyasova's offense keyed a 32-9 run for Milwaukee. Instead of fading away against the potential playoff team, Washington scored the first seven points of the final period and turned the momentum into an 18-6 spurt.
"Like Coach (Randy Wittman) said, 'We basically won the game twice,'" Wizards guard Garrett Temple said.
Wall led Washington with 23 points, eight coming in the fourth quarter following a heated exchange with Wittman over the team's defense during a timeout late in the third period.
Both Wall and Wittman dismissed the in-game spat as nothing more than competitive banter as the team grew frustrated while trying to limit Ilyasova's open looks.
"Oh, that's coaching. C'mon," Wittman said emphatically. "I love that."
Wall's consecutive made jumpers gave the Wizards a 99-88 lead with 3:55 remaining. The point guard had 10 assists, six rebounds and four steals, and he made his third 3-pointer of the season.
"He's a great player. That's what great players do," Bucks guard Monta Ellis.
Milwaukee's leading scorer with 26 points, Ellis had no problem doling out the compliments for the Wizards star, but he offered no such praise for the Bucks' effort.
"Just a terrible game," Ellis said. "We made our run, but we shouldn't have been in that position anyway."
Ilyasova had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, who have dropped two straight to fall to 32-31. Larry Sanders had 17 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected late in the fourth quarter after receiving two technical fouls.
Washington's Bradley Beal missed his fifth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Backup A.J. Price also missed the game due to a sore right groin, leaving Wall and Temple as the only true guards on the roster. Both played over 41 minutes, with Wall logging a season-high 43 one night after he had 27 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds in a loss at Cleveland.
During Beal's absence, Wall is averaging 19.6 points and eight assists.
"Just being more aggressive and taking better shots than what I was taking," Wall said of the recent uptick in production. "Just give credit to me working ... harder with (assistant coach) Sam (Cassell) on my jump shot, those type of things."
In the third quarter, the Bucks shot 61.9 percent (13 of 21) from the field. Ilyasova made five of six attempts and scored 12 points before the crowd of 14,506. In the fourth, he made his only field-goal attempt and picked up his fifth foul midway through the quarter.
Coming off a four-game road trip and then a home loss Monday night, the Bucks sputtered early and late. Washington scored at least 30 points in all but the third quarter.
"I feel the schedule caught up with us a little tonight, " Bucks coach Jim Boylan said.
Nene had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Martell Webster scored 20 points for the Wizards, who have won three straight home games and eight of 11 in Washington. Six Wizards scored in double figures, including Trevor Booker, who set season highs with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The combination of Webster, Wall and Garrett Temple spurred the Wizards' offense during a 14-0 second-quarter run as Washington pulled ahead 54-35.
The trio scored the final seven points in the spurt, capped by Temple's three-point play. The Wizards held a 60-44 halftime lead.
Starting in Beal's place, Temple made six of seven shots and scored 13 points. Trevor Ariza added 14 points.
NOTES: After finishing 1-for-2 from beyond the arc, Wall is 3-for-20 on 3-point attempts this season. ... Washington clinched the season series 2-1. The victory was first in the series for the home team. ... Milwaukee's Luc Mbah A Moute did not travel to Washington after sitting out Monday's loss against the Dallas Mavericks with a sprained toe. The 6-foot-8 forward has started 41 of the 46 games he's played in this season. Mike Dunleavy made his third start, and he finished scoreless in 26 minutes. ... Considered a game-time decision, Ariza (sore left knee) played 30 minutes. ... The Bucks scored at least 100 points in eight of their previous nine games. .... In Monday's loss at Cleveland, Wall became the first Washington player since 1997 to finish with at least 27 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. ... The Wizards host the New Orleans Hornets on Friday. On the same night, the Bucks host the Miami Heat.