Tonight: The 17-15 Brooklyn Nets take on the 4-26 Washington Wizards tonight, at the Verizon Center at Washington D.C. at 7 P.M. EST. The Wizards have won just once in their last 12 games, while the Nets are 3-1 since firing Avery Johnson and replacing him with interim coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Watch & Listen: The game is broadcast on YES Network. Ian Eagle & Mike Fratello are on the call. The game is radio broadcast on WFAN radio, and is simulcast in Spanish on WADO.
Injuries: The Wizards are without 2010 #1 overall pick John Wall, small forward Trevor Ariza, backup forward Trevor Booker, and former Deron Williams foil A.J. Price. They start Garrett Temple at point guard, who is allegedly a professional basketball player. The Nets are without power forward Kris Humphries and point guard C.J. Watson.
Washington Wizards: Garrett Temple, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Emeka Okafor, Nene Hilario
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez
Washington Wizards: 92.7 offensive rating (30th), 101.4 defensive rating (11th), 93.79 possessions per game (18th)
Brooklyn Nets: 103.2 offensive rating (11th), 103.9 defensive rating (21st), 90.42 possessions per game (29th)
Three Things to Watch
1) Offensive building. The Nets built an oddly strong offensive foundation Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, balancing pick-and-roll/pops with Brook Lopez and misdirection from one side of the floor to the other to get open shots through a confused Thunder defense. Even though they've got a winning percentage worse than the 2009-2010 New Jersey Nets (the infamous 12-70 team), The Wizards are a surprisingly good defensive team, ranking tenth overall, but have struggled defending spot-up shooters. The Nets can get a breadth of good looks again tonight by using the pick-and-roll and off-ball screens to get their role players (and Joe Johnson) good spot-up looks.
2) Lock down the inside. The Wizards are historically bad on offense -- at 92.7, their offensive rating is almost a full five points behind the second-worst Cleveland Cavaliers. The 29th-ranked Cavaliers are actually closer to the league-average offs use than they are to the 30th-ranked Wizards. With that said, Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario are legitimate offensive threats, and the Nets have adjusted their starting lineup accordingly, putting in Reggie Evans at power forward and swinging Gerald Wallace back to small forward. If they can contain the interior and let Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford shoot 25 million bad shots on Joe Johnson, the Nets should handle this one without much trouble.
3) Blatchelyn. Andray Blatche is returning to Washington for the first time since the Wizards used their amnesty clause on him. Washington has allegedly beefed up its security to protect him, and it's likely that the crowd will boo him soundly throughout the game. Not many players have entire crowds like this against them. Keep an eye on how Blatche, who's been a different player in Brooklyn, responds to this emotional stimuli.