John Wall earned his seventh double-double of the season as the Washington Wizards (21-42) defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (32-31) 106-93 at the Verizon Center Wednesday night.
After posting season-high numbers Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wall led the Wizards’ efforts once again with 23 points and 10 assists. He also added six rebounds, four steals and top-notch defensive plays to help Washington to its third straight victory at home.
“I thought this was one of [Wall’s] better games of sustaining the pace of game,” Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said after the game. “First half was as good a pace that we’ve had. We’ve got to continue—not only John—as a team to learn how to play that way. We’re not made up right now to be a walk-it-up, slug-it-out, grind-it-out team. And we need to take advantage of John and what he can do.”
The Wizards were without Bradley Beal for the fifth straight game due to a sprained left ankle and he was accompanied on the bench by A.J. Price who sat with a sore right groin injury. Nevertheless, Washington made due without their presence on the court.
With the exception of Emeka Okafor, each of the Wizards’ starters posted double figures in points – and so, too, did Trevors Booker and Ariza.
As has been the case as of late, the Wizards first added padding to their lead on back-to-back three-pointers by Martell Webster in the first quarter to lead 22-15 with 3:04 left in the quarter. The Bucks tried to respond, but Wall sank a rare – but appreciated – three-pointer to close out the quarter with the Wizards in front 30-21.
In the second quarter, Washington silenced the Bucks for more than four minutes as they went on a 14-0 run to pull in front, 54-35.
Webster added a pair of free throws before Booker delivered with a layup and Wall with a jumper to enter the half with a commanding 60-42 lead.
Milwaukee gained some ground as Ersan Ilyasova worked his magic with a jumper and a three-point shot to trim the Wizards’ lead to 68-55 with 7:05 left in the third. Monta Ellis added a three-pointer and Larry Sanders pulled the Bucks within seven with a two-point shot and-1.
Ellis added two more points to the Bucks’ efforts and Ilyasova went back-to-back with a layup and a go-ahead jumper to put the Bucks up 73-72. By the end of the quarter, it looked as though the Bucks had shifted momentum in their favor with a 78-75 lead into the fourth.
Booker and Garrett Temple may not have been favored as the duo to put Washington back in front, but they did just that in the final 12 minutes. Wall added a two-point shot to give the Wizards an 84-80 lead and the Bucks unsuccessfully played catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Webster added his fourth three-pointer on the night to Washington’s efforts – and recorded 20 points when all was said and done. Nene also played a major role in the fourth quarter, particularly on defense, and tallied 13 rebounds and six assists before day’s end.
“I think that’s what this team is known for,” Wall said. “We can make shots in the second half. We do a better job of setting guys up. We have post players that can score and pass out of the post. We know our strengths are pushing, getting easy pace and getting open shots.”
Before the buzzer sounded, Ariza added salt to the Bucks’ wounds with a last-minute three-pointer and the Wizards closed things out with a 106-93 win.