Guard Bradley Beal scored a season-high 34 points and the Washington Wizards fought back in the second half for a 109-106 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Guard John Wall had 17 points and nine assists for the Wizards (8-9), who had lost five of their previous six games.
Both teams were shorthanded in the frontcourt, but Washington a bit more with its top four big men unavailable, including center Marcin Gortat. That led to Wizards coach Randy Wittman using unconventional lineups.
Washington often deployed four guards and used only perimeter players for all but one second of the fourth quarter.
"I told them if it was a 6-foot-5 and under league, we would be pretty good," Wittman joked after Washington's first home win since Nov. 17.
The Wizards weren't terribly impressive for the opening three quarters, but they outscored the Suns 31-21 in the final period. Washington trailed nearly the entire game until pulling ahead with a late 10-3 run.
Forward Otto Porter's 3-point play put the Wizards up 104-103 with 1:42 remaining for their first lead since 2-0.
With Washington leading 108-105, Beal fouled Knight shooting a 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds remaining, but Knight made only 1 of 3 from the line. After the second attempt, the Suns were called for a delay of game technical foul, but Beal missed the try.
After guard Garrett Temple's free throw put Washington up three, Bledsoe missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"It was one of the fun type, odd type things especially when you get a win," Sessions said of the small lineups." It worked tonight."
With similar size players on the court, Washington switched defensively throughout the fourth quarter, taking away driving lines in the process.
The Suns shot 51.2 percent from the field, but made only field goal over the final 7:03. Phoenix fell to 1-4 on its six-game road trip.
"They had that small lineup in there," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said when making his first comments postgame about why his side came up short.
Phoenix wasn't exactly playing big as center Tyson Chandler (right hamstring strain) missed his fourth straight game. Yet they were outrebounded 41-35 and allowed Washington 50 points in the paint.
"When these teams go small against us, we can't seem to be able to punish them," Hornacek said. "We're small ourselves and thought maybe we could penetrate."
Phoenix forward Markeiff Morris scored 10 points after sitting out Wednesday's 127-122 overtime loss at Detroit with a left knee contusion.
Perhaps still stunned by the result and Bryant's 31-point performance, the Wizards missed their first nine field-goal attempts and trailed 31-22 after one quarter. Despite some better moments in the second quarter and Gary Neal scoring 10 of his 12 points off the bench during the period, the Wizards trailed 60-51 at halftime.
Beal took command offensively from there, scoring 24 points after halftime. He also finished with nine rebounds, five assists and five 3-pointers.
"It was just my aggression, my approach to the game," he said. I was not aggressive enough in the last couple of games, especially the game against L.A."
Gortat, Washington's starting center, returned to his native Poland for a family matter shortly after Wednesday's loss. Forwards Kris Humphries (sprained left ankle), Nene (strained left calf) and Drew Gooden (strained right calf) were in street clothes.
Center Ryan Hollins, signed by Washington on Monday, started and played 13 minutes. In the end, Wittman simply put in players regardless of size and position.
"It was different lineups out there we didn't really practice [with]," Sessions noted. "Everybody just played hard and we got a win.
NOTES: Wizards G Gary Neal scored 12 points. ... Both teams made 10 3-pointers. ... Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe and Washington guard John Wall were teammates at the University of Kentucky. The Suns' other starting guard, Brandon Knight, also played for the Wildcats. ... Suns C Alex Len, a former University of Maryland standout, made his fifth start of the season. ... The Suns and Wizards won't meet again until April 1 in Phoenix. ... Phoenix faces the Grizzlies on Sunday in Memphis. Washington closes its three-game homestand on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.