Wall, Wizards stay hot in win over Kings
WASHINGTON — John Wall isn’t the king of Sacramento, but the All-Star is certainly a Wizard shooting 3-pointers against the perennial Western Conference doormat.
Wall scored 21 points and continued his torrid shooting from beyond the arc against the Sacramento Kings as the Washington Wizards won their third consecutive game with a 110-92 victory on Monday night.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and Otto Porter 15 for the Wizards (8-5), who matched their longest winning streak of the season and closed their four-game homestand at 3-1.
Wall entered shooting 26.3 percent on 3-pointers but hit all four of his attempts against the Kings after sinking 5 of 6 in Washington’s 110-83 win at Sacramento on Oct. 29. In his other 10 games, the point guard is 5 of 32.
“I think I’m taking the same exact shots, I’m just making them against them for some reason,” Wall said about his deep-shooting success against Sacramento. “Everybody else I be ‘clank.’”
The Kings, who opened their three-game road trip with back-to-back losses after two impressive home wins, could only shrug postgame about Wall thriving against them and them alone.
“I asked assistant coach (Bryan) Gates, ‘What’s he shooting from 3?’” Kings guard and ex-Wizard Garrett Temple said. “He shot (nine) percent the last five games, but he can’t miss against us, so I don’t know what the ...”
Washington opened the season 3-0 but lost five of seven, including to then one-win Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 7.
“Intensity changed. We definitely locked in more defensively,” said Gortat. “We really took it personally. We had teams like Phoenix and Dallas coming in here and punking us in front of our own crowd. It’s not nice. It’s definitely not nice. We all get a lot of fire from that.”
George Hill scored 13 of his 16 points in the first quarter for Sacramento (3-10). Zach Randolph and Buddy Hield each had 12 points.
The Kings made 12 of 23 3-pointers but shot 40.5 percent from the field overall.
Wall was 8 of 9 overall and had nine of Washington’s 30 assists.
The Wizards shot 51.8 percent from the field, finished with a 50-34 rebounding advantage and outscored the Kings 46-32 in the paint.
Mike Scott scored 15 points off the bench, Bradley Beal added 14 and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 12 for the Wizards.
Defensive woes hurt the Wizards during their recent skid, but they held their last three opponents below 42 percent shooting from the field.
“Defense, that’s the key,” Wall stated. “For one, we’re not worried about who is shooting the ball. That’s what we were good at last year. No matter who scores, who is the leading scorer on any given night, you just have to play well and make the right reads.”
Washington started slow with its defense in the first quarter and trailed 27-17 but outscored Sacramento 32-19 in the second quarter and pushed the lead to 84-62 in the third quarter.
The Kings rallied enough in the fourth quarter for Wizards coach Scott Brooks to re-insert the starters, but the margin never dipped below 14.
“We hung in there in the first half but in the second half they came out, they got in the paint, (but) we took a lot of jump shots,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “They ran out on us a lot in transition and kind of got away from us. They were very serious in the third quarter, to come out and play, and be aggressive.”
Temple and Skal Labissiere each had 12 points. Rookie guard De’Aaron Fox scored 11 for the Kings.
Sacramento played without Hill and Randolph in the first meeting. The veteran duo made their presence in the first quarter with 20 points as the Kings led 32-25. Things unraveled from there.
“It was bad communication defensively,” Hill said. “On the offensive end I think we stopped sharing the ball a little bit more and starting settling a little bit more.”
Hill added, “On the road with a young team, you can’t have those lulls where you take possessions off.”
The teams combined for just 22 turnovers.
NOTES: Wizards F Mike Scott has scored in double figures in six of the last nine games. ... Kings F Vince Carter (kidney stone) missed his third consecutive game. ... Washington never trailed and led by as many as 37 points in the first meeting at Sacramento. They opened with a 13-0 lead and hit 17 of 34 3-point attempts. ... The Kings close their three-game road trip Wednesday at the Atlanta Hawks. The Wizards begin a home-and-home set with the Heat on Thursday in Miami before playing Saturday in Washington. Miami swept the four-game series last season.