“I guess that’s what happens when you go into shock,” Beal said afterward.
“We were all collectively kind of holding our breath, not knowing what was going on,” reserve A.J. Price said, “but on the other hand, we had a game we had to win, so we couldn’t dwell on that too long.”
Wall initially erred after Beal was injured, losing the ball to Young — his second turnover of the game — but he quickly made amends. He hit a pull-up jumper to bring the Wizards’ deficit to one point, then rebounded a Holiday miss, and darted up the court before drawing a foul. Wall made both free throws to give the Wizards an 88-87 lead and then the 2010 No. 1 overall pick chased down 76ers swingman Evan Turner, who went second in the same draft, to block his driving layup.
After Martell Webster (16 points) missed a jumper, Nene, back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sore right shoulder, secured the offensive rebound. With the shot clock winding down, the ball made its way to Wall and the 76ers stepped away to let him shoot from 20 feet. Wall has had difficulty making and taking jumpers throughout his career, but he rose up over Dorell Wright without any hesitation and stroked the net.
With the crowd cheering, Wall raced back to his bench with his eyebrows slanted toward anger and nostrils flaring determination. Wall thumped his chest, then stared down the crowd.
“My coaches told me I had to be more aggressive in the fourth quarter. Luckily it went down,” Wall said. “I’m more comfortable taking them, I just have to be more confident taking and knock them down if the defense is going to play off me and give it to me. I just have to take it with confidence.”
All five Wizards starters scored in double figures and recorded at least one blocked shot, with Emeka Okafor recording his 16th double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds and Nene scoring 15 despite having his shoulder heavily bandaged. Nene made a layup to give the Wizards an 82-74 lead, but Philadelphia went on an 11-0 run before Nene ended a more than five-minute scoring drought with another hook shot.
“That was a gutty win for our guys,” Coach Randy Wittman said, adding that Wall, “wants to win as bad as anybody.”