Nets Gameday: Harden, Irving lead Brooklyn into DC rumble against Wizards

Nets Wizards
Oct 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets four-game road trip continues on Wednesday with a stop in the Nation’s Capital to face the Wizards (7 p.m.). It will be just the second time that the Nets and Wizards have faced one another this season.

Brooklyn took their first meeting of the season back on Oct. 25, 104-90, at Barclays Center, but the Nets have not had much luck at Capital One Arena. The Nets have dropped their last four road games against the Wizards, which is their second-longest active road losing streak.

The Nets’ last win in D.C. came back in 2018.

Wednesday will mark the second game that Brooklyn will play without Kevin Durant, who suffered an MCL sprain last weekend during the Nets’ win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Nets also dodged another disastrous injury on Monday when it appeared James Harden had been hurt.

Harden was not listed on the Nets status update on Tuesday and will play on Wednesday night. Harden and Kyrie Irving will be tasked with leading the offense in Durant’s absence, both of whom had 20-plus points in Monday’s loss to Cleveland.

Irving was not in the Nets lineup when they faced the Wizards in October, but Harden put up 14 points that game and added 9 assists. Now will be another chance for Irving to step up to continue to fill the gap left by Durant.

“We just have to be ready to make adjustments on the fly and do whatever is needed for guys to fill in that role,” Irving said on Monday. “You can’t ever replace Kevin. It’s impossible. So we face that reality right this second and moving forward on this road trip. We know that on a given night, me and James can go for 30 apiece. But we’re really looking forward to seeing a lot of guys chipping in on the offensive end.

“Then defensively, our communication has to be really crisp because we don’t have somebody that can clean up some of the mistakes on the back side like Kevin.”

Irving has found his footing after being back for four games. He has posted an offensive rating of 119.1, defensive rating of 103.9 and net rating of 15.2 in that span.

The Nets have been considered road warriors for most of the season, but they’ve suffered losses in two of their last three games away from the Barclays Center. Their 15-5 road record is still second-best in the league.

The Wizards are coming off a big win on Monday over the Philadelphia 76ers where they got Bradley Beal back from COVID protocol. He had 13 points in the Washington win and has been averaging 23.7 points per game with 4.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists.

The Wizards are 16-13 against Eastern Conference opponents.

Nets Notables

The Nets are 11-0 this season when scoring 120+ points and 11-1 when shooting .500+ FG %. … Kessler Edwards has reached double digits for the second (16 points on 1/15 vs. New Orleans) and third (11 points on 1/17 at Cleveland) times in his career in the last two games, averaging 13.5 ppg (.556 FG) and 4.5 rpg in 37.4 mpg, while shooting 7-of-11 (.636) from 3-point range. … The Nets were 16-3 last season with Harden and Irving (no KD) and have won 15 of their last 17games played with just that duo.

Nets Injury Report

  • DeAndre’ Bembry (back spasms) — Questionable
  • Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) — Out
  • Kevin Durant  (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
  • Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
  • Paul Millsap (personal reasons) — Out

Wizards Injury Report

  • Coach Wes Unseld Jr. (health and safety protocols) — Out
  • Coach  Pat Delany  (health and safety protocols) — Out

How to Watch

Monday’s game will air on YES Network with Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok, and Michael Grady on the broadcast. Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw will have the call on the radio on 101.9 FM WFAN.