Despite a few mild threats in the third quarter behind Bradley Beal’s hot shooting, the Nets never relinquished control of this game after jumping out to an early lead, putting 27 points between them & the Wizards in the first half and stretching it to over 30 at points in the fourth quarter.
Without John Wall, the Wizards stood little chance in this game: rudimentary sets and schemes became complicated parlor tricks, turnovers became routine, and the Nets rode a still-invigorated Brook Lopez in the first half and hot (open) shooting from outside all night. I mean, when Jarrett Jack hits 2 top-of-the-key three-pointers after making six all season, it just might be your night.
The win was key for Nets playoff positioning: they only need to win two of their next three games to guarantee a playoff spot, and could still get in even if they do worse. With the Bucks, Bulls, and Magic on the docket, you can feel free to be cautiously optimistic.
9 PTS, 3-11 FG, 2-4 3PT, 9 AST, 7 REB, 1 STL
Williams ran a picture-perfect offense in the first half; found Lopez in the paint for his short floater, took advantage of defensive mismatches on switches, and hit just about anybody and everybody with a series of pocket passes, behind-the-back looks, and quick finds. Despite his poor shooting night from inside the arc, Williams controlled the flow of the game as they built their early lead.
Though he’s not exactly a 20-point scorer — he knows where his bread is buttered, and Brook Lopez owns the bakery — he’s been lethal from three-point range in the past two weeks.
7 PTS, 3-10 FG, 2 AST, 1 STL, +27
Stepped up to the challenge of defending Bradley Beal, one of the league’s better young shooters & scorers, without much success. Had some struggles limiting fouls, getting around screens (particularly in a third-quarter stretch when Beal caught fire) and hitting his own shot.
Did hit the one-legged Dirk fadeaway in garbage time, so let’s give him that.
7 PTS, 3-5 FG, 9 AST, 2 STL
Old man game vs. old man game. Johnson matched up with ex-Nets forward Paul Pierce and stole the show, taking advantage of Pierce sleeping on defense for a couple easy buckets and later teaching second-year forward Otto Porter some veteran moves.
He wasn’t much of a scorer tonight, but he didn’t need to be. His passing game is still underrated, particularly his ability to find guys on the weak side of the court after driving into the lane.
10 PTS, 5-8 FG, 4 REB, 1 STL
Had some trouble early dealing with the enormous Nene but kept pushing and pushing inside to get a few buckets.
26 PTS, 12-22 FG, 9 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, +26
Dominated the first half by doing what he does best: finishing plays inside, sneaking into his sweet spot for floaters, and getting tip-backs. There’s not much left to say about Lopez’s game at this point other than that he’s continuing to do what he’s done in every game for the past two weeks-plus.
22 PTS, 7-12 FG, 6-6 3PT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, +24, ONE BURNT-DOWN ARENA
WE IN SALEM MASSACHUSETTS AND FLAMES IS BACK TO BURN ALL WIZARDS AT THE STAKE FROM A DISTANCE OF 23’9″ OR FURTHER. HIDE YOUR KRIS, HIDE YOUR WILL (BYNUM).
Hit a career-high six three-pointers, tying a Nets rookie record set by Kerry Kittles, including two in back-to-back fashion to put the final piece of kindling on Washington witchcraft.
Played good spot minutes for Markel Brown — the two are such different players that it allows Lionel Hollins to get varying production out of the two spot, depending on matchups. Brown got the quick hook when he struggled with Bradley Beal, and Bogdanovic filled in by hitting threes. The two together provided an interesting dynamic in the fourth, and let Joe Johnson get some extra rest as the Nets put it away.
14 PTS, 5-6 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5 REB, 3 AST, +26
Some nights, Jarrett Jack’s ball of tricks works out. This was one of those nights.