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Thornton opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that gave Brooklyn an 82-72 lead.

“That’s a chance when you could put a team on its back, when you go up double figures. …” Pierce said. “But we never could give them that big hit. And they kept grinding, kept grinding, and got back in the game.”

The Wizards went on a 15-4 run keyed by Gooden (8 of 11 from the field) and Harrington.

Harrington started things off when he scored four points and picked up a steal that led to a basket by Beal.

Then with the Wizards trailing by three, Gooden hit a layup and then a jumper from the wing that gave Washington an 87-86 lead, its first of the half.

“I thought in the fourth quarter we got down and defended,” Wittman said. “We didn’t take any shortcuts.”

Thornton answered for New Jersey, making a 3 and following with a driving bank shot to put Brooklyn up 91-87 midway through the quarter.

The Wizards tied it at 92 on Wall’s free throw.

Wall nearly brought the Wizards all the way back in the third, when he scored 15 points. The Wizards cut a 12-point deficit to 63-62 before Brooklyn went on an 8-0 run.

The Wizards, playing on back-to-back nights, trailed by seven after one and pulled to within 33-32 on Martell Webster’s 3-pointer early in the second quarter.