NEW ORLEANS — Jordan Crawford scored 26 points and the Washington Wizards spoiled the return of overall No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, beating the New Orleans Hornets 77-70 on Tuesday night.
Bradley Beal added 15 points for the Wizards, who trailed by as many as 13 and never led until the fourth quarter. Washington won for the first time on the road after losing its first eight away from home this season.
Ryan Anderson led New Orleans with 17 points but did not score in the second half, missing all nine of his shots after going 7 of 12 in the first half. Davis, who missed 11 games with a stress reaction in his left ankle, had 13 points and seven rebounds.
The game befitted the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference (Washington) and the team with the worst in the West (New Orleans). The Wizards shot 32.9 percent, scored 11 points in the first quarter – a season low for any quarter – and had a season-worst 36 points at the half.
The Hornets shot 32.5 percent and scored a season-low 10 points in the fourth quarter, losing for the 13th time in 15 games.
Crawford scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. He hit a 3-pointer to give the Wizards a 68-65 lead with 5:09 left, and he sank a tough leaner while drawing a foul from the Hornets' Greivis Vasquez the next time down the floor to make the score 71-65.
Davis responded with a dunk on an alley-oop from Austin Rivers, the Hornets' first points in nearly four minutes, but another attempted alley-oop from Vasquez to Davis resulted in a turnover that Nene converted into a layup as Washington went ahead 73-67 with 3:00 left.
Davis converted a three-point play in transition to cut the deficit to 73-70 with 1:51 to go, but the Hornets did not score again. After Vasquez missed a wild running hook with just over a minute left, Crawford hit an open 18-footer to put Washington ahead 75-70.
Nene had a double-double for Washington with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Rookie guard Austin Rivers, starting for the first time in 10 games, had 11 points for the Hornets, but only two of them came in the second half.
The first two possessions for both teams set the tone. The Wizards turned the ball over on their first possession and missed their first shot badly. The Hornets clanked their first shot off the backboard and committed a turnover on their second possession.
At one point, the Wizards were 6 of 26 from the floor with almost as many air balls as made shots. Jan Vesely even shot an air ball on a free throw, falling to 3 of 15 for the season at the line.
The short-handed Wizards played without John Wall, who has missed the entire season with a stress injury in his left knee, Trevor Ariza, who strained his left calf last Tuesday against Miami, A.J. Price, who fractured his right hand against Golden State last Saturday, and Trevor Booker (right knee), who started the first six games.
NOTES: It was the first NBA game since April 1, 2005 when both teams shot below 33 percent. The Hornets were involved in that one, too, playing the Houston Rockets. . Davis entered with 4:34 left in the first quarter and played 24:54, just under his average of 26 minutes. . With its first road win, Washington is ahead of its pace from last year, when it lost its first 25 games away from home.