Instant analysis: Wizards 101, Suns 95

Instant analysis: Wizards 101, Suns 95
January 24, 2014, 11:45 pm
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Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal shoots a shot in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

John Wall set the table the way a point guard should, and sharpshooter Bradley Beal closed the show for the Wizards, who returned to .500 for the fifth time Friday night after a hard-fought victory at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. 

Wall was steady throughout for the Wizards (21-21), tallying 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting, a game-high 12 assists, two steals and only two turnovers. Trevor Ariza led all scorers with 23 points on 6-for-14 shooting, seven rebounds and four steals. Nene had 18 points and eight rebounds and Marcin Gortat, who was traded from the Suns (24-18) before the season, had 14 points and five rebounds. 

Beal, who still is playing on a 30-minute restriction stemming from a stress reaction in his lower right leg, had 17 points. He returned for the last three minutes of the fourth quarter with the score tied at 93 after a hook shoot by Miles Plumlee. Beal responded with a three-pointer, Nene made 1 of 2 free throws and then Beal sealed it with a lane jumper with 27 seconds left for a 99-95 lead and a transition dunk to set the final margin. 

Wall had come under fire from coach Randy Wittman, and himself, for taking 29 shots -- 13 more than Beal and only making nine of them 00 in a surprising overtime loss to the depleted Boston Celtics at Verizon Center on Wednesday. 

But they've won four of their last five road games and now have a winning record at 11-10. 

Turning point: The Wizards trailed 59-51 with 11:51 in the third quarter but went on a 14-4 run, sparked by five points from Ariza, to lead 82-76 going into the fourth.  

Key stat: The Wizards held a 44-30 edge in rebounding, including 19-9 on the offensive end. 

Sick leave: F Martell Webster (flu) was a late scratch so rookie Otto Porter played the most minutes (19) since Dec. 28. Porter only shot 1-for-6 for two points but he made some key hustle plays in the second quarter to help Washington go on a 10-1 run to regain the lead before falling down 57-51 at the half. Porter fed Gortat for a sweeping hook shot as he cut to the basket, he forced Marcus Morris to mishandle a pass from Goran Dragic that led to a turnover and P.J. Tucker stepped on the sideline when Porter ran him off the three-point line in transition. 

Blurred lines: Leandro Barbosa, Nene's countryman the "Brazilian Blur" who signed another 10-day contract recently with the Suns, was acquired by the Wizards in a trade with the Boston Celtics last season that was designed to get rid of Jordan Crawford. Barbosa had a knee injury and was done for the season and didn't play a game in Washington, which used his salary slot in the off-season. Barbosa came off the bench for Phoenix to score 10 points in 21 minutes. 

Up next: The Wizards left immediately after the game for Salt Lake City, where they'll play the Utah Jazz on Saturday (CSN+, 9 p.m. ET).

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