- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman had to improvise without four of his tallest players.

He mixed and matched, watched his team fall behind by 10 points early in the fourth quarter and finally overtake the Phoenix Suns 109-106 on Friday night.

Wittman used three guards and sometimes four in trying to keep up with the Suns.

“I told them if it was a 6-foot-5 and under league, we’d be pretty good,” Wittman said.

Bradley Beal scored 34 points, Ramon Sessions added 18 and John Wall had 17 and nine assists.

Three of the Wizards’ frontcourt players, Nene, Drew Gooden and Kris Humphries, are injured. Starting center Marcin Gortat is in Poland because of a family emergency.

Wittman started Ryan Hollins, who was signed this week, at center, but later moved Otto Porter, normally a forward, to the middle.

“It’s fun now,” Wittman said. “It was different trying to mix and match. You don’t get into those situations very often where you’re trying to look at what kind of disadvantage you can put the other team at by being so small.”

Washington improved to 8-9 after losing five of its previous six games.

Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points, and Brandon Knight had 19 for the Suns. They’re 1-3 on a six-game trip and have lost seven of eight.

The teams combined for 46 turnovers.

The Wizards took a 104-103 lead on Porter’s three-point play with 1:42 to play.

Phoenix, which lost an 18-point lead in a loss at Detroit on Wednesday night, led by 10 early in the fourth quarter.

“They just mucked the game up a lot. They denied the inside a lot and we fought hard to get it in there. Fourth quarter, they just, I guess you could say they turned the corner,” Suns forward Markieff Morris said.

GOING SMALL:

The Wizards enjoyed playing little ball.

“We definitely miss our bigs, but when it’s a matchup of guards, it’s always fun. Who’s going to get the most rebounds now? Who’s going to want it the most? Cause there’s no excuses about height or size or anything,” Beal said.

“Sometimes I think we get caught up adjusting to other teams. We need to make them adjust to us - and we did that.”

Sessions said he hadn’t played with a lineup that small in his nine-year NBA career.

“That was more rec league-type,” Sessions said. “But the NBA is going that way. Maybe not as small as we were going, but there’s a lot of teams going small nowadays.”

DELAY OF GAME:

The Suns were called for a delay of game, their second, with 8.8 seconds to play. Referee Monte McCutchen warned Morris against continually changing positions on the foul lane, but he kept moving, and Phoenix was assessed a technical.

“It was a miscommunication. He told me I had the choice, then when I chose, they moved, so we both actually had the choice. Just miscommunication, me and the ref,” Morris said.

Beal missed the free throw.

TIP-INS:

Suns: Center Tyson Chandler missed his fourth straight game because of a strained right hamstring. Coach Jeff Hornacek said that he hoped Chandler would return within the next few games. Morris returned after missing the Detroit game with a bruised left knee. … P.J. Tucker had a season-high 13 rebounds.

Wizards: Gortat will miss at least two games, the team said. … Humphries (left ankle), Nene (left calf) and Gooden (right calf) were out. … The small lineup outrebounded Phoenix 41-35.

UP NEXT:

Suns: Visit Memphis on Sunday.

Wizards: Host Dallas on Sunday.

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