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Wizards turn back visiting Grizz, 107-94

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WASHINGTON (AP) - John Wall finished Washington's last game on the bench after getting two technical fouls.

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He stuck around for the finish of his best NBA performance Monday, scoring 17 of his career-high 47 points in the fourth quarter as the undermanned Wizards beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-94.

``I was just in a zone. I made my first couple of shots and I knew I was in a great rhythm. Ten points in the first quarter, I knew I had it going,'' Wall said after posting the third-highest point total in the NBA this season.

Wall, who added eight assists and seven rebounds, shot 13 of 22 from the field and made a career-high 19 free throws on 24 attempts.

``That was an incredible performance for him. We jumped on it and he carried us. It felt to me that it was all under control. All within our offense. All within what we were doing,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.

Emeka Okafor added 21 points and nine rebounds for a Washington team that was without five members of its rotation.

Already without guard Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle), guard A.J. Price (groin) and forward Trevor Ariza (flu), Wittman announced before the game that forwards Nene (sore right knee) and Martell Webster (abdomen strain) were also out.

``I'm just so proud of these guys,'' Wittman said. ``This is an incredible win for us.''

The Wizards (26-44) are 21-16 since Wall returned from a left knee injury.

``When somebody has it going like that, there's really nothing you can do. You just put a hand up and hope that he misses,'' Memphis' Mike Conley said. ``He had one of those nights where he was feeling it. We threw everything we had at him and he made the plays.''

Conley led Memphis with 23 points, and Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless scored 14 apiece.

It was Washington's sixth straight home win, while Memphis (47-23), which had won three of four overall, dropped its fourth straight road game.

Memphis had an injury issue of its own as center Marc Gasol missed his second straight game after aggravating an abdominal tear Friday at New Orleans.

``Tonight we had to battle from behind; we had our moments when we tied the game,'' Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ``We just couldn't sustain anything because John had such a good shooting night. He hit shots inside and out, and Emeka Okafor dominated the paint for the most part.''

Washington led 76-74 to start the fourth quarter and went up six after Cartier Martin hit a 3-pointer and Wall made one of two free throws.

After Tony Allen's free throw cut it to five, Wall hit two free throws and then, after a miss by Allen, Chris Singleton's 3-pointer gave Washington a 91-81 lead with six minutes left.

With just over four minutes to go, Wall hit a jumper as the shot clock expired to make it 94-83. The lead grew to 13, but Memphis rallied and twice got within four in the final minutes before the Wizards scored the final nine points.

It was a much different ending than Saturday's loss, when Wall was ejected in the third quarter against Golden State.

``I feel like I really let the team down,'' Wall said. ``I already had one technical and you've got to be smarter than that. We still had a chance to win that game. Right now, we're just trying to salvage the games we can win and finish the season strong, so I knew tonight I had to step up big.''

Wall scored eight straight to give the Wizards an early 12-4 lead.

Down by two after a quarter, Memphis, keyed by 3-pointers from Austin Daye and Pondexter, opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 32-26 lead.

Memphis built the lead to nine before Wall scored six straight to make it 39-36. His driving scoop shot put the Wizards up three late in the half before Conley's 3-pointer made it 55-all at the break.

Wall finished the first half with 26 points.

Notes: Beal has missed nine of 12 games since injuring his ankle March 3. . Price missed his eighth straight game and Ariza his second. . After returning home from a four-game West Coast string for Monday night's game, the Wizards go right back on the road for games at Oklahoma City (Wednesday) and Orlando (Friday).

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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