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Wizards topple 76ers to reach the .500 mark again
The first three times the Washington Wizards reached .500, they lost their next game.
On Wednesday against Boston, the Wizards get their fourth shot at the break-even point, and they hope it’s the last time.
“It’s not a magical thing (where) I think all of a sudden fairy dust is going to fall on us if we get over .500 (and) we’re not going to lose another game,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said.
The Wizards haven’t been over .500 since Oct. 31, 2009, when they were 2-1.
After their 107-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, they were in no mood to admit that it was always on their mind. Players shouted to each other to ignore questions about the mark, but none did.
“We’re aware of it, but we just have to not even think about it,” Bradley Beal said.
Beal nearly had his first career triple-double. Two days after he missed 12 of his 14 shots in a loss to Detroit, Beal had 22 points — 13 of them in the second quarter when Washington built a 10-point halftime lead. He also had nine rebounds, a season high, and eight assists, equaling his career best.
Marcin Gortat had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Seraphin had 16 points for Washington. John Wall added 14.
Each time the Wizards reached .500 this season, their next game was at home, and they lost to Milwaukee, Dallas and Detroit.
“We’re done with that,” Gortat said.
“Every time we talk about being a .500 team and getting over .500, we have teams coming in here and just punking our butts.”
Michael Carter-Williams led Philadelphia, which has lost seven of eight, with 31. Thaddeus Young had 18. Spencer Hawes had 11 points and had a season high 16 rebounds.
Carter-Williams and Young scored the first 19 Philadelphia points in the third, but the Sixers trailed 70-66 midway through the period. Washington led 86-73 after three.
The Wizards were ahead 100-79 with 6:07 to play, but Philadelphia scored 13 straight to trail by eight with 2:26 left.
Washington didn’t make a field goal for more than eight minutes in the fourth quarter. Wittman substituted for his starters, but after the bench played poorly, the starters came back in to stabilize things.
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