A month ago Drew Gooden’s home court was at an LA Fitness facility a few miles outside of Washington, D.C.
Now he’s squarely in the U.S. capital and helping the Washington Wizards’ playoff drive.
John Wall scored 33 points, Gooden got 11 of his 21 in the final quarter and the Wizards overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 101-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.
“You guys joke about me being old, but I’m still Drew Gooden,” the 32-year-old said. “And that’s what I do. Once I see a couple going in I feel like I can’t miss. Tonight the ball was definitely on my side and it dropped for me tonight.”
Gooden’s 3-pointer broke a 94-94 tie with 2:37 left. Trevor Ariza then scored off an offensive rebound with 44 seconds left and Wall capped it with dunk.
Washington completed a sweep of the season series (3-0) and moved ahead of Brooklyn for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
The game between two teams that could meet in the postseason had a playoff atmosphere in front of the Wizards third sellout of the season.
“The longer we go here, the more games are going to feel like that. I thought the fans in the building were electric, all night,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “Our guys played off of that and it was an intense game, there is no question about that.”
Wittman said Gooden — who added nine rebounds — Harrington, and Andre Miller provided a lift off the bench.
“A couple times early in the first half, (the game) was tinkering on a break point,” Wittman said. “I thought our guys, Drew, Andre and Al, changed the tone of the game when they went in. Their physicality bled under the other guys.”
With starting center/forward Nene sidelined (sprained left knee), the Wizards signed Gooden — now in his 11th NBA season — to a 10-day contract on Feb. 26 and another on March 8. Soon they’ll have to decide whether or not to keep him for the remainder of the season.
“Obviously Drew came out, and those are things he can do, he can make shots,” Wittman said.
Washington’s Bradley Beal, who sprained an ankle in Friday night’s overtime win at Orlando, started and added 15 points.
The Nets, who went the final 6:22 without a field goal, were led by Marcus Thornton’s 19 points. Joe Johnson added 16 and Paul Pierce had 15.
“We got great looks, it just didn’t go down,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “We executed plays, I think we might have gotten a little frustrated on the defensive end, when we were giving up shots, and that led to the carry-over on the offensive end.”
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.
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