WASHINGTON (AP) - Flip Saunders had seen enough.
With his team on the verge of being blown out by the New Jersey Nets, the Washington Wizards coach ripped his team after they played a lethargic first 24 minutes.
``As I told our guys at halftime in a few choice words, 'It was just a matter of playing hard,'' Saunders said.
Just before halftime, the Wizards trailed by 17 points. John Wall scored the last four points and then took control in the second half.
Wall scoring 14 of his 26 points after the break and the Wizards rallied for a 98-92 win over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.
Washington outscored New Jersey 28-12 in the third quarter, but it wasn't until Wall hit a jumper with 1:22 left and another with 46.5 to go that the Wizards had a rare comeback win.
The Wizards had lost six in a row, and with a five-game road trip beginning Tuesday, a loss would have been disheartening.
``I felt more confident today than at any other time of the season,' said Wall, who also had eight assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Saunders has been encouraging the rookie to shoot more especially because Washington is without four key veterans - Andray Blatche, Josh Howard, Rashard Lewis and Nick Young.
``It's starting to pay off. He's confident,' Saunders said.
``We've lost games with John when he's trying to make plays, but he's not afraid to. If you want to be a great player in this league, you can't be afraid to take the ball in your hands and try to make a play.'
Wall was helped by Jordan Crawford's 21 points, JaVale McGee's 16 and Maurice Evans' 15.
Evans has seen lots of point guards in his seven-year NBA career, and since he arrived in a trade from Atlanta last month, he's had fun playing with Wall.
``What's most impressive from my perspective is he doesn't really know how to play yet,' Evans said.
While the Wizards had fun in the second half, New Jersey most certainly didn't.
The Nets have the NBA's second-worst road record (4-29), but they thought they had a chance for a rare win against the team with the worst road mark - even without injured point guard Deron Williams.
They led 56-39 just before the half. In the third quarter, they were overmatched.
``I guess we just got complacent. I did a little,' Brook Lopez said. ``Once we realized what was going on, it was too late.'
Lopez led the Nets, who have lost three straight, with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Morrow had 19, and Kris Humphries had 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Jordan Farmar started in place of Williams, who will miss at least three games because of an injured right wrist. He had a career-high 17 assists - 11 in the first half - to help the Nets get their big lead.
``I told our players, 'This loss was really painful,'' New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said. ``We were pretty good in the first half. In the second half, we weren't very good.'
NOTES: Johnson said Williams' wrist would be re-evaluated after he misses three games. ``It's something that we know, rest - not surgery - is required,' Johnson said. ``We'll treat him. We'll rest him.' In the Nets' locker room before the game, Williams said he was eager to play again this season. ``I'm just getting a little rest and then re-evaluate it,' Williams said. ``Maybe a couple of more games. It's not really set in stone. I'll just see how it feels.' ... New Jersey signed G Sundiata Gaines for this season and next. He will back up Farmar in Williams' absence. ... Humphries had his 10th straight double-double. ... McGee was 8 for 9 from the field.
Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.