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Angry John Wall makes sure Washington Wizards don't lose

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 1, 2016 at 12:40 AM
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WASHINGTON -- Philadelphia 76ers guard Isaiah Canaan learned a valuable lesson: Do not make Washington Wizards guard John Wall angry.

Wall scored 37 points and the Washington Wizards rallied with a 16-0 run in the fourth quarter for a 116-108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night.

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Center Marcin Gortat had 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for the Wizards (29-30), who trailed 74-66 after letting a 14-point lead slip away.

Philadelphia (8-52) jumped in front with a 26-4 during the third quarter, but ultimately lost its ninth straight game.

Late in that surge, Canaan sank a 3-pointer with 6:36 left in the third. Perhaps fueled by bravado emanating from the courtside presence of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canaan turned toward the Wizards bench and stared for several seconds.

From that point, Wall scored 21 points over the final 18 minutes. The All-Star and Gortat scored all 16 points during the decisive surge and 29 of Washington's 37 fourth quarter points.

"I told [Canaan] don't do that anymore. It made me mad," Wall said after the win. "We're good friends but that's disrespect. You don't do that. It made me mad and when I'm mad I play better."

Washington is playing better of late. The Wizards have won three straight and are 6-2 since returning from the All-Star break.

Two of Washington's three recent victories came against the 76ers. Washington won 103-94 Friday in Philadelphia.

"We're taking the right strides," Wall said.

Guard Ish Smith scored 25 points and forward Carl Landry had 15 for the 76ers.

Forward Markieff Morris and Wall delivered the knockout blow. They hit consecutive jumpers for a 114-107 led with 22.9 seconds left after Smith's 3-pointer put the 76ers down three points with 1:09 left.

Despite their relentless tale of woe, the 76ers pushed the playoff hopeful Wizards. After Washington scored the opening basket of the third quarter for a 62-48 lead, Philadelphia roared back.

"I think it's fine," 76ers coach Brett Brown said of his young team's confidence level. "It's one of the benefits in an inverted twisted way of coaching a bunch of 20-year-olds is they forget quick."

Center Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia's top scorer and second-leading rebounder, did not play with a right shin contusion.

Washington dominated the rebounding battle, 53-32.

Morris had 16 points and 13 rebounds in his first start since being acquired Feb. 18 in a trade deadline deal from the Phoenix Suns.

Center Nerlens Noel scored seven of his 11 points during that stretch with a 3-pointer, thunderous put back slam-dunk and he banked a jumper that put the 76ers up 74-66 with 5:02 left in the period.

"We were in the game," Noel said. "I thought we were really in a good place to seal that game."

Forward Jerami Grant replaced Okafor in the starting lineup and finished with 14 points.

Guard Bradley Beal had 16 points for the Wizards. Washington's six-game home-court winning improved its overall record to 16-16 at Verizon Center.

The Wizards led 60-48 at halftime as Wall scored 16 points. The best was yet to come.

"He's just very gifted," Brown said of Wall. "He's an All-Star for a reason."

Wall became an All-Star for the third time this season. If the Wizards, currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, are to reach the playoffs for a third straight year, Wall knows they cannot afford such potentially harmful lapses.

"You always appreciate a win, but it's not the way we wanted to win," he said. "I felt we took a step back. We played the way we wanted to in the first half. In the third quarter, we didn't play the way we needed to and that's the reason why we took over."

NOTES: F Nene (soreness) F Alan Anderson (left ankle) and G Gary Neal (sore right leg) all sat out for the Wizards on the second leg of a back-to-back. Anderson played the previous three games after missing the opening 55 following ankle surgery. ... F Hollis Thompson (upper respiratory infection) did not play for the 76ers. Thompson is Philadelphia's leading 3-point shooter at 38.9 ... With Monday's loss, the 76ers were officially eliminated from the postseason. ... The series finale takes place March 17 in Philadelphia. ... Philadelphia returns home for a two-game set starting with the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday. ... Washington visits the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday. The Wizards play five of their next six games on the road.

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