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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While they search for greater defensive intensity, at least the Washington Wizards are getting victories.
Bradley Beal scored 21 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead the Wizards to their fourth straight victory, a 130-122 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
The Wizards rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win for the sixth time in seven games. The victory, combined with a loss by Boston, gave the Wizards the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Allowing struggling Sacramento to score a season-high 68 first-half points and close to 100 after three quarters was disturbing to the Wizards.
"We were flat defensively. We had 17 minutes (fourth quarter and OT) of good defense," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "Do that and you're playing with fire."
Beal made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, and added another 3-pointer in overtime to help Washington avoid an embarrassing loss to the Kings, who have dropped seven straight and are 1-7 since the trade of DeMarcus Cousins during the All-Star break.
Overall, Beal made five 3-pointers, hit 13 of 24 shots, converted all seven free-throw attempts, and added 10 rebounds and four assists.
"I'm happy, healthy and playing with a lot of confidence," Beal said. "I'm being aggressive and just trying to play my game."
John Wall had 25 points and 12 assists for the Wizards. Otto Porter scored 18 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 17. The Wizards are 25-8 since Jan. 1, the NBA's second-best mark. They have won nine of 10 on the road after struggling early on away from home.
"We're not giving up. We get down, but we keep fighting, we keep battling," Brooks said. "That's a good trait to have as a ball club. I like that about us. But we have to have more urgency on defense. I'm tired of talking about it."
Willie Cauley-Stein had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings. Rookie Buddy Hield and Arron Afflalo each had 18 points for the Kings. Darren Collison had 14 points and 10 assists.
It was another frustrating loss for the Kings. Two nights earlier against San Antonio the Kings squandered a 28-point lead in falling to the Spurs.
"The only way you're going to learn is through tough lessons," Afflalo said. "Obviously, that's what we are going through right now. But at the first sign of victory, when we do sustain it, and we do make those plays down the stretch, we'll remember those same tough lessons."
Afflalo scored the Kings' first six points in overtime, but a 3-pointer from Beal gave the Kings the lead for good at 124-122. The Kings didn't score in the final 2:42.
Cauley-Stein slammed home an alley-oop dunk from Collison to tie the game at 116 and Wall missed a shot in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
Late in the third quarter, Ben McLemore scored eight straight points on two 3s and a fast-break dunk, helping the Kings take a 97-82 lead into the fourth.
Wizards: Play 12 of their remaining 18 games on the road. .. Wall was called for a technical midway through the third quarter.
Kings: Hield had all of his 18 points in the opening half for Sacramento, which led 68-56. .. The Kings are 2-6 in overtime games this season, including two OT losses to the Wizards. .. Tyreke Evans, who scored 26 points in Wednesday's loss to San Antonio, was given the night off.
Both Wall and Beal said they were keeping an eye on the scoreboard at new Golden 1 Center and knew both Boston and Toronto had lost. The backcourt mates knew the win would move them percentage points ahead of the Celtics while moving further ahead of fourth-place Toronto, which owns the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.
"It helps to that this beautiful arena has scoreboards everywhere, so I was able to peek over and see Boston took an L (loss) and so did Toronto," Beal said. "That's important for us in terms of seeding. It was important to get a win tonight. John and I both looked and said, 'We've got to get it.' And we just turned it on in the fourth quarter."
Wizards: Five-game road trip continues Saturday night game at Portland.
Kings: No rest for Sacramento, which hosts Denver on Saturday night.
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