WASHINGTON (AP) Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman praised Marcin Gortat’s work on the pick-and-roll Wednesday night.
Gortat said he simply did what he always does.
The Wizards center scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Bradley Beal added 20 points, and Washington defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 106-93.
”Rolling to the basket instead of floating a little bit,” Wittman said of Gortat’s dominant inside game. ”That was really good because he’s got great hands, he can get to the basket. That was as good (a game) probably that he’s had from the standpoint of rolling out of there.”
Gortat converted 10 of 11 shots, primarily from inside.
”They were passing me the ball,” Gortat said. ”I was doing the same thing I’m doing every single game.”
John Wall chipped in 13 points and 15 assists for Washington, which had lost five of six.
Otto Porter started in place of Paul Pierce (rest) for and finished with 15 points.
The Wizards (42-33), who clinched a playoff spot Monday, began play three games behind the Raptors for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Ish Smith tied his season high with 23 points and Isaiah Canaan added 18 for the 76ers (18-58), who have lost four straight overall and 18 of 19 on the road.
Canaan was seen leaving the locker room after the game on crutches and not putting weight on his right foot. Coach Brett Brown had no immediate update on the nature or severity of the injury.
Washington dominated in its first of back-to-back games against the 76ers and Knicks – the bottom two teams in the conference – jumping out to a 13-4 lead and building from there.
Brown said he knew Washington, which lost to the 76ers the last time the teams met, was trying to get rejuvenated before the playoffs.
”And we got jumped,” he said. ”I think it’s a fantastic experience for our guys. We knew this was going to be the landscape. But it’s still hard to navigate.”
Nerlens Noel had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers.
Smith scored eight early points and his scoop shot pulled the 76ers to within five at 15-10 midway through the quarter. Washington scored six straight, however and led 31-21 after one as Gortat scored 13 points in the quarter, six off Wall assists.
Beal capped a 10-0 Wizards run to open the second quarter when he blocked Luc Mbah a Moute’s shot, came down with the ball and drove the length of the floor for a dunk.
Beal’s jumper made 61-38 late in the second.
”When we’re playing against playoff teams, they’re coming out swinging, and we have to come out swinging,” Smith said of the early deficit.
Washington shot 69 percent (29 of 42) in the half and collected 24 assists.
The Wizards cooled off in the second half, but still increased their lead to 34 points, 93-59, on Kevin Seraphin’s step-back jumper late in the third.
Hollis Thompson (16 points) hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last pulling Philadelphia to within 100-85 with 5:43 left, but Wittman sent several starters back into the game and the 76ers got no closer until the final minute.
76ers: Trail season series 2-1, with finale set for April 8 at Philadelphia. … G Jason Richardson (left knee injury) returned after missing two games.
Wizards: It was Wall’s 38th double-double. … Gortat hit his first eight shots on the way to his 20th double-double of the season. … F Kris Humphries returned after missing 16 games due to a groin injury. … G Garrett Temple (right hamstring strain) missed his 11th game.
76ERS TOUR WHITE HOUSE
Brown said he was impressed with how his young team conducted itself during a 90-minute White House tour Tuesday. ”I was proud of them just navigating through that environment with class,” he said. ”They’re not all on cellphones and texting, they ask good questions to the people that lead us around.”
REST FOR PIERCE
Wittman rested the 37-year-old Pierce, who has struggled, averaging 4.6 points per game while shooting 6 of 27 (22 percent) from the field over his last five games. ”We had a couple of days off, then this game, and then tomorrow,” Wittman said. ”I thought he needed a breather, so I decided to ask him if it would do him any good and he thought it would.”