WASHINGTON — Without Bradley Beal, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was just hoping someone would put up double figures.
Trey Burke gave him that and more, scoring a season-high 27 points off the bench as the Wizards beat the Brooklyn Nets 118-95 on Friday night to win their third consecutive game and reach .500 for the first time this season. John Wall had 19 points and 14 assists for his eighth double-double in nine games, but this was Burke’s show as the 24-year-old made his first seven shots and scored 20 in the first half.
“We needed somebody,” Brooks said. “Trey just had an amazing night. … He played very controlled. He had a nice rhythm, the guys were getting him open and he made a couple of tough shots but when you make shots early I think the basket becomes bigger.”
Coming off the bench to relieve rookie spot starter Sheldon McClellan, Burke settled himself down with some early free throws and caught fire from 3-point territory. Wall joked that they let Burke sit at his locker by himself at halftime when he was perfect from the floor and the line.
Burke has gone into many games this season uncertain of how much he’d play. Not Friday.
“You just got to be ready,” said Burke, who led a 50-point bench effort. “Obviously with Brad down I knew I was going to have to come in and be a spark off the bench and be ready to play.”
Washington won for the seventh time in nine games and went 10-5 in December to climb into an Eastern Conference playoff position after starting the season 2-8.
“It was a great month we had,” Wall said. “We got to let this translate over to the New Year. … We ended the year the way we wanted to, getting 10 wins for the month and getting back to where we wanted to be.”
Brooklyn is nowhere near where it wants to be after its seventh loss in eight games. Coach Kenny Atkinson didn’t like his team’s energy level or engagement.
“I felt like we should have come in here and played better,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think we were ready to play. I’ll take that on me.”
DUNK YOU VERY MUCH
Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who was 9 of 17 on dunk attempts coming in, dunked five times in the second half, including a one-handed put-back jam. Gortat finished with 19 points but still isn’t getting any support for the slam dunk contest.
“He barely can jump over a phonebook,” Wall said. “You see how high he was getting? But it was good to see him dunk today.”
Even though Beal didn’t play against Brooklyn, coach Scott Brooks said it was a “mild” ankle sprain for the 23-year-old guard. Brooks said Beal, who’s considered day to day, felt better Thursday morning after spraining his right ankle Wednesday night in a victory over Indiana and was making progress.
“Everything is going the right direction with him,” Brooks said, adding that a Beal returning Monday in Houston hadn’t been ruled out.
LEVERT FOR THE LONG HAUL
Atkinson sees a bigger role for rookie guard Caris LeVert as the season goes on. The 20th overall pick who made his NBA debut this month scored in double figures for the first time Friday, but it’s LeVert’s wing defense that excites his coach.
“I see an athletic, agile, versatile, and that gives me a lot of hope for him,” Atkinson said. “I just love him on the defensive end, the energy he gives. I’m not afraid to throw him on anybody.”
Nets: Trevor Booker matched his season high with three 3-pointers and tied for the team lead with 16 points. Spencer Dinwiddie also had 16 … G Jeremy Lin missed his second consecutive game with a strained left hamstring. Atkinson considered Lin a game-time decision.
Wizards: Won their eighth consecutive home game for the first time since 2014. … Rookie F Daniel Ochefu returned after missing a game with an illness.
Nets: Host the Utah Jazz on Monday.
Wizards: Visit the Houston Rockets on Monday.
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