WASHINGTON -- The return of John Wall did not immediately turn the Washington Wizards aesthetically, but they had enough to defeat the struggling Memphis Grizzlies.
Bradley Beal scored 18 points and John Wall had 13 in his return from a left knee injury as the Washington Wizards fended off the Memphis Grizzlies 93-87 on Wednesday.
Wall sat out the previous nine games after receiving injections in his knee Nov. 25 to deal with inflammation. Washington (15-13) went 4-5 without the four-time All-Star. The Wizards returned home from a 2-3 road trip.
Memphis (8-20) has dropped five in a row and 16 of 17, yet stayed with Washington until the final stages.
Wall started and played 28 minutes. His most significant stretch came during the second quarter after Washington squandered most of a 10-point lead. After JaMychal Green's 3-pointer pulled Memphis within two, Wall outscored the Grizzlies 9-0 for a 38-27 lead with 1:59 remaining before halftime.
He showed plenty of agility with a throw down dunk and by blocking a Chandler Parsons dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter.
"I think it was cool other than my four missed free throws," Wall said. "Most important thing is we got the win."
Andrew Harrison scored 20 points for the Grizzles, who shot 38.3 percent from the field and had a season-low 29 points in the first half. Green had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 15 points and 10 boards.
Second-leading scorer Tyreke Evans sat out with right hip soreness.
The Wizards led 50-33 on Porter's 3-pointer with 7:59 remaining in the third quarter but didn't finish the period strong. The Grizzlies entered the fourth down 60-57 and took their first lead at 67-65 on a James Ennis 3-pointer.
Washington countered with a 13-0 run. Beal, who averaged 34.5 points over the previous four games, sank two 3-pointers in this stretch.
Memphis proved resilient and fought back to 83-80 on Gasol's jumper with 2:34 remaining but would get no closer. Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. sank back-to-back 3-pointers for Washington.
"When you're down at that point, you've got to play perfect," Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "And those 3s especially, they hurt you."
Otto Porter had 14 points, Marcin Gortat 12 and Oubre added 11 for the Wizards. Mike Scott started in place of Markieff Morris (right hip soreness) and scored 10 points.
"It didn't look good because we missed some shots, played a little slow for whatever reason, long trip coming back," Wizards coach Scott Brooks following his team's latest suspect outing against a suspect opponent. "I like the fact that we came out and got the win. We played better than the score, I thought. ... Good win for us. Now focus on the next game."
Washington finished 12 of 24 from the free throw line. Memphis hit 15 of 16, helping to offset shooting 38.3 percent from the field.
The Grizzlies committed 12 of their 18 turnovers in the first half and misfired throughout. They shot 5 of 21 from the floor in the first quarter. They also played effectively at times in the second half, but not enough to end the current slide.
"You want to get out of a situation that obviously nobody likes, the only way to do it is by out-hustling the other team, out-working them," Gasol said. "Obviously we're not going to out-talent the other team so we have to be overwhelming defensively and trust each other defensively because that's going to bring trust on the other end."
The Wizards were just glad to end their stretch of games played without Wall.
"He's our leader (and) he's the head to our snake. For him coming back and getting his feet wet and getting back acclimated to our game and our style of play was big for us," Oubre said. "Hopefully, we can keep this rolling."
NOTES: Washington F Markieff Morris played less than 20 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter in each of the previous two games. ... Wizards C Ian Mahinmi (sore right knee) sat out for a second consecutive game. ... Memphis fell to 1-15 without injured G Mike Conley Jr. and 0-10 against Eastern Conference opponents. ... The Wizards host the Clippers on Friday, six days after losing 113-112 in Los Angeles despite leading by four points with 51 seconds remaining. Lou Williams sank the go-ahead 3-pointer for the Clippers with 1.2 seconds left. ... Memphis opens a two-game homestand Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks. ... The sides close out the season series Jan. 5 in Memphis.