WASHINGTON — Guard John Wall scored 33 points in the Washington Wizards 101-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
That was not enough for Wizards coach Randy Wittman to receive a single question about the All-Star point guard during his postgame media session. That’s because forward Drew Gooden’s turn-the-clock-back performance in a playoff atmosphere stole the show.
Working on his second 10-day contract, Gooden scored 11 of 21 points in the fourth quarter, finished 8 of 11 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds. The Wizards (34-32) trailed by 10 points early in the final period, but closed the game with a 9-0 run. Washington has won two straight games and moved into fifth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of Brooklyn.
Gooden’s 21 points are his most since the 11-year veteran had 21 against the Wizards on April 18, 2012, as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
“You guys joke me being old but I’m still Drew Gooden,” said the 32-year-old, who was not on an NBA roster until the Wizards called in late February. “That’s what I do. When I see a couple go in, I feel like I can’t miss. Tonight the ball was definitely on my side.”
Guard Marcus Thornton scored 19 points, guard Joe Johnson 16 and forward Paul Pierce had 15 for the Nets (33-31). Brooklyn shot over 50 percent from the field most of the game, but went the final 6:22 without a field goal. The Nets had won three straight and seven of eight.
“It is tough, “Pierce said, “You go up seven, eight, ten points in the fourth quarter, and you have a team that’s coming up on your back and you have a chance to move up in the standings and separate yourself from them. That’s the disappointing part.”
The Wizards swept the season series from Nets 3-0, taking the finale before a raucous sellout crowd of 20,356.
“I thought the fans in the building were electric all night,” Wittman said. “Our guys played off of that and it was an intense game.”
The Nets led 57-48 at halftime. Thornton’s 3-pointer opening the fourth quarter made the score 82-72. Brooklyn sank 11 of 21 3-pointers.
Veteran forwards Al Harrington and Gooden starred in the Wizards subsequent rally.
On three straight offensive possessions, Harrington had a dunk, driving layup and a steal that setup a Beal putback.
Gooden then scored the Wizards’ next three baskets, including a jumper for an 87-86 lead. His 3-pointer with 2:37 left put Washington ahead for good.
“Our bench saved the day I thought,” Wittman said.
Nothing Nets coach Jason Kidd conjured up from the sideline worked on the court during the closing minutes. Brooklyn shot 5 of 16 from the field in the fourth while Washington made 12 of 20 shots.
“I think we might have gotten a little frustrated on the defensive end, when we were giving up shots, and that lead to the carry-over on the offensive end,” Kidd said.
Wall made 10 of 15 shots, including his first four to open the third quarter and a thunderous dunk to cap the scoring. Washington hit 21 of 25 free throws. Wall sank 9 of 10 in his eighth game with at least 30 points this season.
Beal started despite needing to be helped off the court late in Washington’s 105-101 overtime win at the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Guard Deron Williams scored 14 points for the Nets, including 10 in the first quarter. He went 0-for-7 from the field over the final three periods.
The Wizards signed Gooden to a second 10-day contract March 8. The organization must make a decision by Tuesday on whether they intend to keep him around. Following Gooden’s fourth double-digit scoring game in the last six, that call seems clear.
Gooden certainly sounds like a player expecting to stick around for Washington’s postseason run.
“You call that a statement game (against) these teams you could possibly see in the playoffs,” Gooden said. “You want to handle your business during the regular season. If we see them during the playoffs, they’ll definitely be on their toes.”
NOTES: The Wizards defeated the Nets in Washington by four points in overtime Nov. 8 and 113-107 in Brooklyn on Dec. 18. … Nets F Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) and Wizards F Martell Webster (back) were both game-time decisions. Webster checked in during the first quarter, Kirilenko in the second. … Brooklyn signed C Jason Collins for the remainder of the season after two 10-day contracts. The 13-year veteran made his first appearance in Washington, where he played at the end of last season. Last month the 34-year-old Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play any of the four main U.S. sports. … Brooklyn hosts the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Washington starts a four-game Western road swing against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
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