WASHINGTON (AP) - Cartier Martin tied a career high with 20 points in his second game under a 10-day contract, and the Washington Wizards built a big lead and held on to it for a change, breaking a five-game losing streak Friday night with a 97-76 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The loss knocked Philadelphia, at least temporarily, out of first place in the Atlantic Division, pending the result of the Boston-Minnesota game later Friday. The 76ers began the day tied with the Celtics.
The Wizards had blown double-digit leads in their last three home games, but this time they didn't let up, playing with speed and hustle the entire game - not to mention 47 points from the bench. Former Maryland coach Gary Williams suggested earlier this week that perhaps, under a perfect scenario, Washington could lose a one-off game to Final Four school Kentucky, but not even an amateur roster full of future NBA first-round draft picks could have thwarted the Wizards on Friday.
The 76ers, meanwhile, have lost six of nine and are struggling to score. They had only 36 points at halftime and found themselves outhustled to most of the loose balls. Washington outrebounded Philadelphia 52-38 for the game, and the 76ers had only two fast-break points in the first half
Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young scored 14 points apiece for the 76ers. Andre Iguodala, returning after missing two games with tendinitis in his left knee, had just seven points in 34 minutes.
Jordan Crawford scored 17 points for the Wizards, and Nene had 16 points and eight rebounds before leaving in the fourth quarter with a left foot injury. Kevin Seraphin scored 14 points, and John Wall had nine points, six rebounds and six assists.
Washington finished the game shorthanded. Not only did Nene leave early, but Trevor Booker departed in the first quarter, also with a left foot injury.
The Wizards led by eight after the first period, by 19 at halftime and by 17 after three. A 76ers run seemed inevitable given what had transpired recently at the Verizon Center, but Philadelphia never got closer than 13 in the second half. When the 76ers scored four straight to make the score 81-68 early in the fourth, Martin responded with a 3-pointer.
Notes: Washington lost the first three games of the series, never leading by more than six. ... The 76ers say C Spencer Hawes has had his restrictions lifted following his return from an Achilles injury. Hawes had been limited in his playing time in recent games, and he played only 17 minutes Friday night. ... 76ers coach Doug Collins doesn't hide the fact that he's scoreboard-watching this time of year: "We all like to say, 'Let's just take care of our business,' but it's like looking in our neighbor's window." ... The 76ers, who have the top scoring defense in the NBA, allowed 4,378 points through their first 50 games - a franchise low since the shot-clock was introduced in 1954-55.