Late Lead Crumbles as Nets Lose to Wizards in Heartbreaker


Final: 01/31/2021

L 146 149

The back-to-back three-pointers. The missed layup. The gut punch. 

In a meeting of teams trending in two separate directions, the Nets blew a five-point lead in the final seconds to fall in a deflating 149-146 defeat to the Wizards on Sunday. The loss ends Brooklyn’s four-game winning streak.

Where to begin? In some ways, you could have seen the Wizards’ comeback simmering throughout the night. After growing a quick 18-point lead in the first quarter, the Nets let Washington chip away and hang around throughout the night in another high-scoring contest.

The Wizards entered the game with the league’s worst record but showed a ton of fight. They hurt the Nets in the paint but delivered the dagger on the perimeter as Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook hit back-to-back three-pointers to quickly erase Brooklyn’s five-point lead in the final seconds.

And still, the Nets had another chance. After the Wizards batted away an inbounds pass, Kyrie Irving delivered a great look to Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot for a layup to go up one — but it bounced out.

The Nets were able to maintain a narrow lead throughout the night thanks to its hot offense, which was a continuation of Friday’s display. The team shot 56.8%, this time without James Harden, who sat out the night due to a thigh contusion.

Brooklyn’s defense has always been an issue, but it has never been more glaring than it was on Sunday. Just one look at the box score and you see the Wizards scored 48 points in the fourth quarter alone. Washington got uncharacteristically hot from the field but it goes without saying that allowing that many points down the stretch is just unacceptable. 

Washington was able to remain within single digits of the Nets during the latter three quarters due to another familiar weakness: points in the paint. The Wizards out-scored Brooklyn 72-34 inside and secured 11 offensive rebounds. The Nets also got back to their sloppy ways with 17 total turnovers. 

If you recall, the Nets fell victim to Washington earlier this season due to late missed opportunities by Irving and Durant. It looked as Brooklyn was going to stay just enough ahead to avoid late defeat on Sunday, but lack of communication and defense brought a loss that cuts deeper. 

The Wizards have four total victories, now with two coming against the Nets. Westbrook had his best game of the year with 41 points while Beal came alive in the second half with 37 points as Washington shot 51.9% from the field.

Scoring was not a problem for the Nets as they tallied four players with at least 20 points on the night. The team assisted on 33 of 50 field goals and shot 19-of-36 from three while scoring at least 33 points in each quarter. 

This is a loss that stings for the Nets, but they do not have much time to sulk. They have a matchup with a hot Clippers team up next, and Brooklyn’s offense may meet its match against L.A.’s defense. 

Another test for a Nets team looking to find long-term consistency within the daily battles. 

Kevin Durant


The stats: 37 PTS, 11-19 FG, 2-4 3PT, 13-13 FT, 7 REB, 6 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 5 TO, 38 MIN

Kevin Durant was aggressive and looked great offensively throughout the night.

Without Harden, KD took the lead as the score-first star and was in-rhythm early with 21 first-half points. He also did a good job at getting his teammates involved with six assists. 

Still, that ball-handling came with a team-high five turnovers. The Wizards were able to build momentum off those mistakes, so that is one area to improve on. The Nets could have also used a KD takeover down the stretch. 

Joe Harris


The stats: 30 PTS, 11-17 FG, 8-13 FG, 1 REB, 5 AST, 1 TO, 32 MIN

A career night for Joe, but the thing most will remember is his late inbounds pass.

First: Joe Harris did not lose this game. If anything, he was the motor that kept this team running through many defensive miscues throughout the night.

As Kyrie said post-game, this game did not boil down to one play — it was the culmination of missed opportunities and failure to get stops. Joe was pure money from deep and will bounce back from the late mistake. 

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 26 PTS, 10-20 FG, 1-2 3PT, 5-5 FT, 4 REB, 8 AST, 3 TO, 38 MIN

Kyrie nearly sealed the deal with his late offense, but alas. 

Kyrie was not too aggressive throughout the night but was able to knock down a jumper and a pair of free throws to help the Nets go ahead by five with 12 seconds to go. Where he hurt the team more, though, was on defense, where he admitted that he “couldn’t guard a stick.”

The poor defense does not boil down to one person, but Kyrie knows that he can contribute more. He did a great job at getting others involved throughout the night despite struggles elsewhere. 

Jeff Green


The stats: 23 PTS, 7-10 FG, 4-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, 7 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 30 MIN

Uncle Jeff came to play. 

Jeff Green did a bit of everything, from a pair of blocks to his scorching 4-of-5 shooting from three. Jeff remained ready on the perimeter and provided a lethal alternative option alongside Joe Harris.

Unfortunately for the Nets, it was a performance wasted. But Jeff Green has been a consistent difference-maker for Brooklyn, and he gave the team a chance in another high-scoring night. 

Landry Shamet


The stats: 11 PTS, 3-7 FG, 2-6 3PT, 3-4 FT, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 1 STL, 1 TO, 21 MIN

Landry Shamet had a quick 10 points in the first half, and then… nothing.

Landry seemed to be ready to continue his hot-shooting performance from Friday, and he fit the part for a while. His minutes dropped off as soon as his impact did.

He was the leading scorer off the bench, which tallied 42 points, but the Nets need to find consistency from the second unit across the board.