John Wall gets triple-double in Washington Wizards' win

By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange   |   March 17, 2016 at 2:11 AM
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards put their playoff hopes in jeopardy with a five-game losing streak. Thanks to a change with their defensive approach and stat-stuffing performances from John Wall, hope remains alive.

Wall recorded his third triple-double of the season with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists as the Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls 117-96 Wednesday night.

Doug McDermott scored 20 points for the Bulls (33-33) and Derrick Rose had 16 in his return after missing the previous two games with a left abductor strain.

Chicago, which has lost three of four, fell into a tie with the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons lost 118-114 at home against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday.

The Wizards (32-35) sit 1 1/2 games behind those two teams after winning their second straight, with both victories coming after a disastrous 0-3 road trip and against teams directly ahead of them in the standings. Washington routed Detroit Monday 121-84 as Wall had 15 points and 12 assists.

"Our pick-and-roll defense was terrible," Wall said. "Coming back in and being able to watch film, talk about it, seeing it. That's not the way to play defense. We all simplified, said this is what we need to do, something that should have been done a long time ago. ...It's been working the last few games."

Jimmy Butler scored 17 points for the Bulls. Chicago shot 40.2 percent from the field and 6 of 20 from beyond the arc.

Offensively the Wizards executed their fast break attack as desired with Wall at the helm. The Bulls knew what was coming and couldn't come close to slowing them down.

"That's all we talked about the last couple days," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of Washington's up-tempo style. "Just didn't get back, didn't execute it. They drove it right down our throats and either got right to the rim or were able to spray it out for open shots, and that was the game."

Hoiberg has bigger concerns moving forward. Center Taj Gibson didn't return after suffering a hamstring injury in the second quarter. Chicago remains without big man Pau Gasol (knee) and previously lost shot blocker Joakim Noah for the season.

"We're fighting, but it's no excuses," Rose said of the injuries. "We've still got to come out here and do our job as far as competing, playing hard. The challenge is pretty tough right now, but that's why we're pros."

Washington owns any potential playoff tiebreakers with Chicago and Detroit. The win clinched the season series 2-1 against the Bulls. The Wizards are 3-0 against the Pistons with only one game remaining.

Bradley Beal had 20 points and Garrett Temple scored all of his 15 points in the first half for the Wizards, who sank 13 of 21 3-pointers.

Washington closed the first half with a 21-10 spurt for a 63-52 lead as Temple made all five of his 3-point attempts.

Wall struggled with turnovers early in the third quarter as Chicago continued jumping passing lanes. The All-Star got the last laugh in the period, scoring 10 of Washington's last 12 points for a 92-74 lead. Wall finished with eight turnovers, but the Wizards outscored the Bulls by 38 points with him on the court.

"He was fabulous right from the start," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Wall.

The margin never dipped below 12 points in the fourth quarter.

Mike Dunleavy (stomach virus) started after sitting out Monday's 109-107 win at the Toronto Raptors, but he went scoreless in 17 minutes for Chicago.

McDermott hit three 3-pointers Wednesday after sinking four 3-pointers and 9 of 11 shots overall for 29 points against Toronto.

Members of Washington's starting five each scored in double figures. Otto Porter had 14, Nene 12 and Markieff Morris 11.

Marcin Gortat did not start because of lower back pain. Washington's center entered in the second quarter and started the second half, finishing with nine points.

Washington led by 14 points in the first quarter, but Rose and McDermott fueled an early second-quarter surge that put Chicago up before collapsing over the final 5:24 of the period.

The Wizards have won eight of nine at home.

NOTES: Bulls F Pau Gasol (left knee swelling) is expected to miss his third straight game on Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets, coach Fred Hoiberg said. ... Wizards G Alan Anderson was not active after suffering a left ankle injury in Monday's win over the Detroit Pistons. Anderson missed the first 55 games of the season after undergoing left ankle surgery. ...Both starting backcourts -- Washington's John Wall and Bradley Beal, Chicago's Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler -- played at the same time for the first time in four meetings dating to Jan. 15, 2015. ... Chicago's matchup with Brooklyn starts a four-game homestand. ...Washington plays at Philadelphia Thursday.

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