Even though they're out of the playoff loop, the Washington Wizards can still give teams a hard time.
In a battle between a pair of teams booking early vacation, the Wizards will host the New Orleans Hornets Friday night at the Verizon Center. Washington is unbeaten in its last three home games and opened a three-game stand with Wednesday's 106-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
John Wall posted his second double-double in a row with 23 points and 10 assists, and Martell Webster added 20 points for the Wizards, winners in two of their last three overall. Trevor Ariza finished with 14 points off the bench, while Nene had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
Washington had a big lead at halftime (60-44) and overcame a rough third quarter (34-15) with a 31-15 margin in the final frame. Webster discussed what triggered the Wizards' big fourth quarter.
"Coach (Randy Wittman) really got on us, he was screaming at us, like a father would to his children," said Webster, who's averaging 19.0 points the past three games. "The message we took was we have to play better. We can't keep doing this to ourselves. We put our foot down right there. That's when we decided to get back in the game."
Trevor Booker finished with 13 points and 12 boards in the triumph. Wall is averaging 19.0 points, 7.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds in his last six games and Nene is posting numbers of 14.4 points and 8.0 boards in that span.
The Wizards, who have a 16-17 home record and are 6-6 as the host versus the West, are only 21-42 this season, but have been consistently stingy on defense, allowing 95.0 ppg (sixth best).
Washington closes out the homestand Saturday with a visit from Phoenix. In injury news, rookie Bradley Beal (ankle sprain) is doubtful against the Hornets and Ariza (illness) is listed as questionable. Beal is averaging 14.2 ppg and has missed five games in a row.
New Orleans is averaging 94.5 ppg and kicked off a three-game road trip Tuesday in a 108-98 setback to the Brooklyn Nets.
Eric Gordon scored 21 points and rookie Anthony Davis registered a double- double with 17 and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who have dropped four of five and four straight as the guest. Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez scored 15 points apiece in the loss. Vasquez had 14 assists as well for his 24th double- double.
"Any time we're down we always give ourselves a chance to fight back," Davis said afterward. "We have to come out from the beginning and go."
Davis leads all rookies in double-doubles with 15.
Hornets forward Ryan Anderson is second on the team with 16.7 ppg and is questionable Friday because of an illness. He did not play in Brooklyn.
New Orleans is 10-23 away from the Big Easy and still has Minnesota to visit on the road swing. The Hornets dropped a 77-70 home decision to Washington on Dec. 11 this season, but have won the last three in D.C.