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Wizards beat Thunder 101-99 in NBA

Dpa
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Los Angeles - The NBA-worst Washington Wizards haven't had much to cheer about this season but on Monday they had reason for a rare celebration after beating the league's best.

Bradley Beal scored 22 points, including the tie-breaking jumper with three-tenths of a second left, lifting the short-handed Wizards to a stunning 101-99 victory over visiting Oklahoma City Thunder.

"It was time for us to be on the other end and to have someone step up and make a play," said Wizards coach Randy Wittman, whose club had lost six straight games and 13 of 14.

"Bradley made a helluva shot, that was a helluva play."

The Wizards went ahead by 10 by forcing the Thunder to miss 16 straight shots during an 11-minute span midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth.

But Washington-native Kevin Durant made a thunderous dunk to draw Oklahoma City within 95-94. After Martell Webster converted a four-point play putting the Wizards on top 99-94, Serge Ibaka hit a jumper and Durant drilled a game-tying three with 36 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Beal's heroics.

Beal got the ball out of a timeout and dribbled just above the free throw line, where the rookie quickly drew a double-team from Kendrick Perkins and Theo Sefolosha. But he pump-faked them and nailed the difference-maker, sending the fans at the Verizon Center into a frenzy.

"They knew I was going to try and take a jumper," Beale said, "So I just head-faked, they both went for it and I shot a little floater."

Durant said: "He's a shot-maker."

"That was a tough shot, you have to tip your hat to that one."

The Thunder had a final shot but Russell Westbrook missed a desperation corner heave at the buzzer and the Wizards escaped with their biggest win since beating the defending NBA Champ Miami Heat, earlier in the season.