Point guard scores game's final six points after rookie's injury
There was relief of two different sorts in the Wizards' locker room.
On one side, John Wall had the satisfaction of snapping his team's two-game skid by scoring the last six points of a 90-87 victory Sunday over the slumping Philadelphia 76ers, including a steely pull-up jumper with 4.4 seconds remaining.
On the other, Bradley Beal breathed at least some sigh of relief that a straightforward sprain was all he suffered when he rolled his left ankle with 2:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I got an X-ray, and they were good views," said Beal, who walked out of the shower gingerly and exited Verizon Center on crutches. "It looked the same, looks normal, so I just have to see how it feels tomorrow."
Chasing Jrue Holiday, Beal grazed Nene's foot on the way down and crashed to the floor as Thaddeus Young's runner gave the Sixers (23-35) an 87-84 lead. It completed a turnaround after the Wizards (19-39) had led by eight earlier in the quarter and 10 earlier in the half.
The rookie, who had 14 points and came into the night averaging 19.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in his last eight games, writhed in pain as he was quickly attended to by Wizards trainer Eric Waters. A moment later, with his head slumped, he was carried to the locker room on the interlocking arms of teammates Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely. The Wizards and the crowd of 17,370 were silent, and Beal's two brothers had concerned looks on their faces as they waited outside the locker room after the game.
"It's not a fun thing to see," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. More will be known about how much time Beal might miss Monday.
"It still felt bad," Beal said. "It felt like, whenever you have something like that, an ankle sprain or it just rolls over completely, it feels bad. But I'm thankful it wasn't my knee or anything too, too serious."
Wall, who had missed a layup and a 3-pointer earlier in the fourth quarter, turned the ball over on the Wizards' next possession after Beal got hurt. But he bounced back by knocking down his next two shots, both midrange jumpers, on either side of two free throws.
"I've proven myself in college. I just have to keep proving myself," Wall said. "I like the ball at the end of the games. When it's those types of plays, you want to be the hero. You want to have the pressure on you."
Wall showed more signs that he is snapping out of a recent slump when he turned a recovered dribble in the lane into a 360-degree layup to help give the Wizards a slim 50-49 advantage at halftime.
His 20-footer for the game's final margin came thanks to a crucial offensive rebound by Nene (15 points, nine rebounds), who returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous two with a sore right shoulder. A.J. Price also provided minutes backing up Wall following one missed game with a right thigh bruise.
"We need our team intact and healthy, and when we are, we've been pretty resilient and pretty tough," Wittman said.
Wall and Martell Webster each finished with 16 points as all five Wizards starters scored in double figures and had at least one block. With 12 points and 16 rebounds, Emeka Okafor recorded his 16th double-double.
Dorell Wright led the Sixers with 15 points off the bench but missed a game-tying 3-pointer off an inbounds play on the game's final possession. Holiday, Young and Spencer Hawes each had 14 points for Philadelphia, which lost one night after snapping a seven-game losing streak.