Listless for most of the game, the Wizards were able to hold two of the Sacramento Kings' 20-point scorers well below their averages and fight off a late rally to get back to .500 in front of 18,173 at Verizon Center on Sunday.
The Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak to the Kings and are 5-3 vs. Western Conference opponents in this stretch, including wins vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, at Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.
The Wizards have a two-game road trip heading into the All-Star break, which is Feb. 14-16.
After leading by as many as 17 points, the Wizards (25-25) were awful in the third quarter where they posted seven turnovers and 7-for-22 shooting. But fortunately for them, the opposition wasn't much better.
Ben McLemore, who will be competing against John Wall in the slam-dunk contest All-Star weekend, had a three-point play in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 77-73. But Bradley Beal had consecutive three-pointers to put the game out of reach. Beal was 4-for-5 from long range. It was his first time with more than one made three in six games.
The Kings (17-34) were led by Isaiah Thomas with a game-high 30 points on 11-for-24 shooting, but Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins were held in check.
Gay, who has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, finished 2-for-11 for five points. Cousins was bottled up and held to 14 points on 3-for-16 shooting.
The Wizards had five players in double figures, with Nene leading the way with 18 on 6-for-13 shooting, five assists, five rebounds and three blocks. Marcin Gortat had 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting and eight rebounds, Beal finished with 16 points, a team-high five assists and six rebounds and Wall 12 points and just four assists. Wall went the entire first half without an assist thanks to Gortat and Nene missing several chip shots on feeds.
Turning point: The second unit began the second quarter leading 28-24, and Kevin Seraphin and Garrett Temple sparked it with four points each to extend the lead to double digits before the starters re-entered and never looked back.
LIne shift : For the second game in a row, Trevor Booker fell back in his minutes. He logged just five in the first half and didn't play in the second half. Seraphin got the call early, which was a bit surprising since he got berated for a bad shoot and was benched in Friday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Seraphin led the reserves, which contributed 22 points total, with 10 points and eight rebounds.
From the locker room: "Had to get a couple of stops and just move the ball offensively. We weren't playing with any patience. In the third quarter when they started to make a run, it hurt is. It wasn't a great game. I think the first half was a good game for us and the third and fourth quarter, I didn't do a good job putting patience into the game like I did in the first half. Just walking it up the court. And I think we were comfortable with a 17- or 20-point lead and they fought back and just like any other team, they made it a closer game than it should have been." -- Wall
"We let them get back too close in the game and then we did not come out in the third quarter aggressive on the offensive end or the defensive end. We went back to the old way of just pointing, and switching. No defense. And it's just us not being aggressive so we have to do a better job of maintaining that." -- Beal
"I was actually at his out last night. Of course we talk. It's well-deserved. Having an incredible year. I think it's a little past due but that's just my opinion. ... They're playing some good basketball." -- Cousins on Wall, his teammate at Kentucky, being a first-time All-Star
Up next: The Wizards won't practice Monday, when they'll leave for Memphis and face the Grizzlies on Tuesday (CSN, 8 p.m. ET).