WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards point guard John Wall and coach Randy Wittman got in each other's faces. Then, after Wittman momentarily walked away, they got in each other's faces again.
Whatever was said during that third-quarter timeout Wednesday night worked.
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The exchange came as Washington was blowing a 20-point, second-half lead, but Wall rallied with eight fourth-quarter points to hold off the Bucks.
"Oh, that's coaching. C'mon," Wittman said emphatically. "I love that."
Wall said the dispute centered around how the Wizards defended Ersan Ilyasova, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"Just us being both competitive and being on different pages," Wall said. "But we talked about it, and we did a great job in the fourth quarter of keeping Ilyasova from getting hot."
As Martell Webster said of Wall, "He is a competitor, and he feels like he has to be Superman."
Webster, who scored 20 points, his third consecutive game with at least 17, noted Wall wasn't Wittman's only target.
"He was screaming at us like a father would to his children," Webster said. "But the message we took was that, 'Hey, listen, we've got to play better. We can't keep doing this to ourselves.' We put our foot down right there, and that's when we decided to get back into the game."
It was Wall's seventh double-double of the season. He also added six rebounds and four steals.
The Wizards (21-42) have won three consecutive home games and eight of 11 in Washington.
Monta Ellis led Milwaukee with 26 points. The Bucks (32-31) are now eight games ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the No. 8 seed and 2½ games behind the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks for the No. 6 seed.
"We haven't secured anything," said J.J. Redick, who scored 16 points. "To me, I'm not going to be happy if we end up with the eight seed."
Nene had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Trevor Booker had 13 points and 12 boards. Garrett Temple added 13 points.
Trevor Ariza (knee) was a game-time decision, but he scored 14 points in 30 minutes.
"If I can stand and walk, I'm going to play," Ariza said.
Larry Sanders had 17 points and 11 rebounds before being ejected late in the fourth quarter. Sanders committed an offensive foul with 2:45 left and received two technical fouls while arguing the call.
The Wizards led by 20 points in third quarter before the Bucks answered with a 38-7 run to end the period.
"When we made that run in the second half, I felt like we had them," said Brandon Jennings, who had eight points and 10 assists. "I felt like we was gonna win the game. ... Usually teams like that, they kind of die down. But they just kept pushing."
Washington opened the fourth with a 7-0 run before pulling away.
"Like Coach Witt said, 'We basically won the game twice,' " Temple said.
The Wizards played without Bradley Beal, who missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.
Beal led the Wizards in points during the teams' first two matchups this season, scoring 22 in a November loss and 28 in a February win.
In five games without Beal, Wall is averaging 19.6 points and 8.0 assists.
"There was an instance tonight where I really saw a glimpse of greatness," Webster said.
Wall said he has practiced extra with assistant coach Sam Cassell.
"Just give credit to me working more harder with Sam on my jump shot," Wall said.
Luc Mbah a Moute (turf toe) didn't travel with the Bucks. Mbah a Moute, who averages 7.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game, also missed Milwaukee's game Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. ... A.J. Price (hamstring, groin) did not play. ... With multiple guards injured, Wittman was asked about the possibility of adding another guard. The Wizards have a full roster of 15 players, but Leandro Barbosa (left knee) is out for the season and could be bought out. "We'll look into it," Wittman said. ... The Bucks traded for Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith at the NBA trade deadline. "One of the problems with making trades like that is just the fact that you can't get everybody up to speed as quickly as you would like," Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said. "You have to do it on the fly, and it's not easy." ... The Bucks played at the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings before returning home to play the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Boylan noted how difficult the first game after a road trip can be. "So what the NBA did was they sent back out on the road again, so that should take care of that problem," Boylan said. "They sent us to the East Coast, so we can enjoy every time zone that America has to offer."