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Lindsey Hunter benches young players in loss to Wizards

The Washington Wizards came to Phoenix with only five road wins to their credit this season.

They left with six.

Washington outscored the Suns 34-19 in the second quarter on their way to an 88-79 win at US Airways Center Wednesday night — their first win in the Valley since December of 2006.

The loss left Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter very disappointed.

“Quite a lackluster effort the first half,” Hunter said. “I was not happy with none of our young guys. And it wasn’t about mistakes they made. It was about effort. It was about fight, having a sense of urgency. Unacceptable. This is unacceptable.”

Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Michael Beasley and Kendall Marshall all sat on the bench for the final 24 minutes after combining to shoot 1-for-9 from the floor in the first half.

“We’re gonna play guys that play the way we want to play and play the way that we’re gonna play,” he continued. “Establish the type of culture that we’re gonna have.

“I told Marcus and I told Markieff that if you’re not going to go out and compete, forget making shots, forget bad passes and things like that — if you’re not going to go out and compete and fight, you’ll watch the guys that will.”

Goran Dragic and Luis Scola played all 24 minutes in the second half for Phoenix, while PJ Tucker, Jermaine O’Neal and Wesley Johnson each played more than 16 minutes. The Suns outscored the Wizards 34-29 after halftime and held Washington to 33 percent shooting from the field. Washington scored 59 points and shot over 60 percent in the first half.

“The guys that went out in the second half played the way that we’re gonna play and that’s why they were out there,” Hunter said.

The Suns (23-46) will host the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center Friday night.