Coach Randy Wittman's job going forward involves ensuring his
players are not content with any part of that status.
Power forward Nene scored 18 points and guard Bradley Beal added 16
as the Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak with a 93-84 victory
over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
Beal made four of five attempts from 3-point range, including two in
the fourth quarter, as the Wizards (25-25) thwarted an attempted
comeback by the Kings (17-34).
"Coaches are never satisfied. I don't want them to be satisfied,"
Wittman said after the Wizards evened their record for the ninth
time this season. "We're back to .500. We're better than .500. I
want them to believe that. They believe that."
Washington turned 18 Sacramento turnovers into 26 points in its
final home game before the All-Star break. Wizards center Marcin
Gortat scored 17 points, and All-Star guard John Wall, with his
University of Kentucky coach John Calipari sitting courtside, had
Guard Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points for the Kings but received
minimal scoring help from his fellow starters.
Center DeMarcus Cousins, Wall's teammate at Kentucky, had 14 points
and 12 rebounds, but he shot 3-for-16 from the floor. Forward Rudy
Gay, who missed Sacramento's Friday loss in Boston with the flu,
scored five points on 2-of-11 shooting. Thomas, Gay and Cousins each
committed four turnovers.
"That was not an offensive performance we were hoping for," Kings
coach Mike Malone said. "Turnovers once again really hurt us. We
talked about it going in that this is a team that does a great job
turning their opponents over and scoring."
Sacramento lost its second game in a row and fell for the ninth time
in 11 games.
The Wizards led throughout the contest, including 57-45 at halftime
and 73-56 late in the third quarter after Gortat's three-point play.
Starting with a monster fourth-quarter dunk by forward Quincy Acy,
the Kings harnessed enough energy and offense for a 17-4 run. Rookie
guard Ben McLemore's three-point play cut Washington's lead to 77-73
with 8:24 remaining.
Washington replied with back-to-back 3-pointers by Beal for an 88-77
lead with 5:33 left.
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Since Jan. 22, the Wizards were 0-3 against teams with losing
records. Despite scoring 36 points in the second half, the Wizards
prevented the streak from reaching four.
"I'm happy with the win but won't accept the way we played," Wizards
forward Martell Webster said. "I don't think we played a good game.
That's a game we should have won by 30 points. No offense, but that
team's going through a lot of stuff over there."
The Wizards ended their homestand at 3-2 and remained tied with the
Chicago Bulls for fifth place in the East. Washington recently moved
above .500 for the first time since 2009, only to lose its next two
games. The Wizards last reached the postseason in 2008.
"So far so good," Beal said when asked to reflect on the team 50
games into the season. "We know we wish we could have had 10 more
wins. At the end of the day, we really can't complain where we're
at. We're in a solid position playoff-wise, but we have still have a
lot of moves to make."
The Kings had won three straight in the series and two straight in
Washington. Sacramento is 6-18 on the road this season, including
1-6 against the Eastern Conference.
Thomas made 11 of 24 shots from the field. The other Kings finished
18 of 58 (31 percent).
"I think they had a good strategy," Cousins said of the Wizards'
defense. "Some credit to them, some credit to others. You have bad
nights sometimes. On to the next."
Malone said of his big man: "This is an anomaly for him. He hasn't had I
don't think any game like this the whole year where he struggled
Reserve center Kevin Seraphin scored 10 points for the Wizards, and
Webster added eight.
NOTES: Baltimore Orioles All-Star OF Adam Jones was among those at
the Verizon Center. ... Wall and Kings rookie G Ben McLemore are
scheduled to participate in the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday during
the NBA's All-Star weekend. McLemore and Wizards G Bradley Beal,
former AAU teammates, played against each other in the NBA for the
first time. ... Sacramento plays on the road against the Cleveland
Cavaliers on Tuesday. Washington travels to play the Memphis
Grizzlies on Tuesday.
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