WASHINGTON | John Wall took a jet-setter's trip to Lexington, Ky., and brought home some of that UK winning magic. Nick Young got all flashy with a pair of highlight dunks, and JaVale McGee got the better of his head-to-head with Andrew Bogut.
The Washington Wizards were finally winners again Wednesday night, snapping an eight-game skid with a 100-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wall had 15 points, six assists and seven rebounds one night after returning to his old school to watch Kentucky beat Tennessee. Wall left Washington after Tuesday's practice, sat courtside, got a standing ovation, spoke to the Wildcats in the locker room, flew back home and tucked himself in at his usual wee-hours time.
"Seeing them play hard and seeing them win might have brought some excitement for me today," Wall said. "I usually go to bed about 2 or 3 (a.m.). I know some people were probably concerned and saying I might be tired or I shouldn't have went to the game, but I think I got back at a reasonable time. That's the time I usually go to sleep. I took me a nap today. That's the thing I usually do."
Young scored 26 points, McGee had 16 points and 17 rebounds, and Cartier Martin hit a career-high five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. The Wizards took the lead 5 minutes into the game and never lost it, leading by double digits for nearly the entire second half.
The win kept Washington with a winning record at home (14-12), a welcome contrast to the team's 0-25 mark on the road. The Wizards have one more game in the homestand before they put their dubious streak on the line in a much-anticipated — at least from a painful-to-watch standpoint — visit to last-place Cleveland on Sunday.
"We really need these wins," McGee said, "so we can go on the road and get some wins, too."
Young had a flying one-handed baseline dunk in the first half and scored 11 points in the 16-4 run that gave the Wizards a 20-point lead early in the third quarter. Among the highlights: Young picked off a pass, tossed the ball to Wall, then received an alley-opp pass back from the rookie to finish off the fast break with another one-handed jam.
So which was his favorite?
"I'm going to say the flying one-hand," Young said. "I haven't done one of the those in a while."
Brandon Jennings scored 20 points to lead the Bucks, who have lost five of six and fell 2½ games behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee was hoping to build some momentum after a home win over Toronto on Tuesday, but, as coach Scott Skiles said before the game: "We haven't done a good enough job this year of beating teams around or below our own record."
"We needed this win tonight. It's important for us to beat these teams that we're capable of beating," said Corey Maggette, who scored 10 points. "We took a step back."
McGee had his first double-double since Jan. 24, pulling down more rebounds than in his last four games combined (12) and getting in the last word against Bogut. Bogut scored eight of Milwaukee's first 10 points, but didn't score again until 2½ minutes to play in the game.
The Bucks were also outrebounded 51-39 and made only 5 of 12 free throws.
"They pretty much dominated us all over the floor," Skiles said. "They outrebounded us. They went 10 for 16 from three. We couldn't get to the line. When we did, we couldn't make our free throws. We tried to hang in there, but we just couldn't."
The Bucks are finally getting healthy after a season filled with injuries, but it's going to take a while before everyone's back to form.
"I'm still struggling with my outside shot — no legs, a little bit — but just trying to get to the basket to do what I can," said Jennings, who was only 1 for 6 from 3-point range in his seventh game back from a broken foot.
Meanwhile, the Wizards were having fun, despite being undermanned in the frontcourt. Even guard Kirk Hinrich had a rare highlight block, rejecting John Salmons' drive into the seats. Hinrich has only seven blocks on the season.
The Wizards dressed only 10 players, and all the missing notables were forwards: Al Thornton (dislocated right middle finger), Yi Jianlian (sprained left ankle) and Josh Howard (sore left knee). In addition Rashard Lewis played with stiffness in his right knee and scored only three points in 29 minutes.
Several Washington played credited the win to a feisty attitude recently at practice.
"It's been very competitive, a lot of guys getting into arguments, really just competing," McGee said.
So who wins the arguments?
Notes: Milwaukee F Chris Douglas-Roberts was suffering from an illness and did not play until the final 1:10. ... Bucks F-C Larry Sanders sat out with back spasms.