Wall’s Wizards Top Turner’s 76ers 116-115 In OT
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Wall had 29 points, 13 assists, nine steals and eight turnovers in his home debut, outshining fellow rookie Evan Turner as the Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 116-115 in overtime Tuesday night in the first matchup of the top two picks in this year’s draft.
No. 1 choice Wall’s eventful game gave the Wizards their first win of the season. Cartier Martin caught Wall’s inbounds pass and hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime.
No. 2 pick Turner, who came off the bench and wasn’t a factor until the second half, scored all of his nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with six rebounds for the 76ers, who are 0-4 for the first time since 2001-02.
Lou Williams led the 76ers with 30 points, one shy of his career-high. He scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 17 seconds of regulation as the 76ers’ lead fluctuated between one and three points — until Martin hit the 3-pointer that electrified the near-sellout Verizon Center crowd celebrating the home opener.
Andray Blatche added 23 points, eight rebounds and six turnovers for the Wizards.
Elton Brand finished with 21 points for the 76ers. He fouled out in the final seconds of overtime.
In the extra period, Wall stole the ball from Turner and converted the play into two free throws to give the Wizards a one-point lead. Washington was up by three with one minute left, but Brand made consecutive jumpers to put the 76ers ahead 115-114.
Blatche then drew a foul driving to the basket with 7.1 remaining and put the Wizards back in front with two free throws. Andre Iguodala had the final chance to win it for the 76ers, but he missed his jumper just before time expired.
Although the game was the first matchup of Wall from Kentucky and Turner from Ohio State, anyone anticipating an intense head-to-heal dual had to wait a while. Wall is already a starting point guard, captain and arguably the most important player on the court for the Wizards, while Turner is a swingman coming off the bench as he seeks to find his niche for the 76ers.
When introduced in the starting lineup, Wall milked the spotlight, doing an extended version of “The Dougie” dance as he strutted out to his teammates — showing no signs of the sprained right ankle he suffered in Washington’s last game on Saturday. He’s quickly become known as one the fastest players in the NBA, and he left defenders flat-footed more than once with a sudden acceleration to the paint.
Turner, meanwhile, didn’t enter the game until 2:29 remained in the first quarter, and he and Wall were rarely in the same vicinity. Turner, in fact, had trouble getting a simple touch of the ball for a long spell. When he finally did, he committed a traveling violation. His first shot didn’t come until late in the third quarter, and his first points came early in the fourth.
Wall asserted himself in the third quarter, getting six steals and making the most of the first time when he was guarded by Turner, which came late in the period. Wall dribbled behind the back beyond the top of the key, accelerated to the right and — with a little of a bit of a push-off — leaving Turner facing the wrong direction. Wall was then fouled in the paint and made both free throws.
But Turner got more than even on the next two possessions, forcing turnovers by Wall both times.
It was the first home opener in a new Wizards era, led by new owner Ted Leonsis at the top and Wall on the court, as the franchise attempts to start over after the most embarrassing of seasons. Leonsis greeted fans wearing a red tie — he plans to change the team’s primary color scheme to red next season — and fans had to put on 3-D glasses to watch the pregame video on the overhead scoreboard. He watched the game seated next to Irene Pollin, widow of late owner Abe Pollin.
The major holdover from the past was in street clothes on the bench. Gilbert Arenas, nursing a strained tendon in his right ankle, has yet to play this season in his comeback from a 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the locker room. He is expected to return to practice Wednesday.
Notes: Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, in his first trip back to D.C. as a coach since helming the Wizards from 2001-03, got in touch with his most famous player while sightseeing Monday. “I texted Michael Jordan and said, ‘I’m walking around the city and it brings back a lot of memories of being here with you.’ Basketball was alive when MJ was here.” … Thaddeus Young expressed disappointment over the 76ers’ decision not to give him a contract extension. “I would love to be with the team long term, but I recognize that the uncertainty in next year’s CBA has an effect on the team’s approach to contract extensions,” he said in a statement. … Attendance was 17,803, about 2,000 short of a sellout.
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