by Benjamin Standig
WASHINGTON — Power forward Nene scored 18 points and guard Bradley Beal had 16 as the Washington Wizards snapped a two-game losing streak with a 93-84 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
Beal made 4-of-5 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).
Washington turned 18 Sacramento turnovers into 26 points in its final home game before the All-Star break. Center Marcin Gortat scored 17 points and All-Star guard John Wall, with his University of Kentucky coach John Calipari sitting courtside, had 12.
Guard Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points for the Kings, but received minimal scoring help from his fellow starters. Center DeMarcus Cousins, a teammate of Wall’s at Kentucky, had 14 points and 12 rebounds, but finished 3-of-16 from the floor. Forward Rudy Gay, who missed Sacramento’s Friday loss at the Boston Celtics with the flu, scored five points on 2 of 11 shooting.
Sacramento has lost two straight and nine of 11. Thomas, Gay and Cousins each had four turnovers.
The Wizards led throughout the contest, including 57-45 at halftime and 73-56 late in the third quarter on Gortat’s three-point play.
Starting with a monster dunk by forward Quincy Acy, the Kings harnessed enough energy and offense for a 17-4 run. Rookie guard Ben McLemore’s own three-point play cut Washington’s lead to 77-73 with 8:24 remaining.
Since Jan. 22, the Wizards were 0-3 versus teams with a losing record. But instead of running the streak to four, Washington pushed back as back-to-back 3-pointers by Beal gave Washington an 88-77 lead with 5:33 left.
The Wizards ended their homestand at 3-2 and remained tied with the Chicago Bulls for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Kings had won three straight in the series and two straight in Washington. This season Sacramento is 6-18 on the road, including 1-6 versus the Eastern Conference.
Reserve center Kevin Seraphin scored 10 points for the Wizards. In the first of two meetings with Sacramento this season, Washington’s bench keyed a 9-0 spurt
to open a 39-26 edge. The Wizards shot at least 50 percent from the field in each of the first two quarters before the crowd of 18,173.
Notes: University of Kentucky coach John Calipari and Baltimore Orioles All-Star Adam Jones were among those at the Verizon Center. Calipari coached Wizards G John Wall and Kings C DeMarcus Cousins with the Wildcats. …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 guard Bradley Beal, former AAU teammates, played their first game against each other in the NBA…Sacramento plays on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Washington closes out the All-Star break with two straight road games, starting with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
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