After two straight embarrassing Christmas Day losses in both 2012 and 2013, the Nets have been #ForeverBanned from playing on such a festive occasion in order to not ruin family dinners or the subsequent relationships. Today, in 2015, now two years out from that abysmal showing against Chicago, the Nets received a special gift of their own: the Washington Wizards without Bradley Beal or Nene.
Surprisingly, the Wizards, at just thirteen wins, are one of the few teams within shouting distance of the cellar-dweller Nets these days. But without Beal, this Wizards team that was supposed to take the next step this season just simply hasn’t.
Fortunately for them, nothing gets you on track like a game against the Brooklyn Nets — it’s like chicken noodle soup for the soul.
In the first quarter, defense was optional as the Wizards ran out to a 34-26 lead on the back of an incredible six assists from John Wall and smattering of points from the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat. It’s getting a bit ridiculous, but Thaddeus Young has become the Nets’ most reliable player since they moved to Brooklyn and they desperately needed him all night.
It was the collective powers of Wayne Ellington and Willie Reed that helped the Nets claw back before halftime, thanks to some smooth shooting and the absolute annihilation of Kris Humphries, a Net from 2009 to 2013, by Willie Reed on a forsaken layup attempt. And, yet again, at all odds, the Nets were down by just 2 points at halftime, despite Wall destroying anything Lionel Hollins threw at him.
The second half brought resurgences from both Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack, who looked to atone for their frustrating attempts on the defensive end. But, as you might have guessed by now, this game had an incredibly predictable resolution.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: the Nets battled, fought back, survived in another game they had no business staying in — but, of course, a lack of execution ultimately lead to a waterfall of turnovers, wide open three-pointers, and another ugly double-digit loss.
So, even though the Nets have been #ForeverBanned from Christmas, that day-after coal was still destined to fill our stockings.
The stats: 19 PTS, 9-16 FG%, 11 RBS, 3 ASTS, 2 BLKS, 1 TO
It was a bit of a slow start for Brook Lopez tonight, noticeably failing to contain Gortat in the paint, but the second half brought a change in spirits. After demonstrative discussion about a defensive miscommunication with Hollins midway through the third quarter, Lopez seemed determined to change his fate.
A couple great hustle plays and put-backs, combined with a soaring block on Wall, helped the Nets to their first healthy lead of the game during the third. If we’ve written before about Lopez’s inconsistent effort, it’s certainly worth noting that an angry Lopez almost always leads to happy fans.
Unfortunately, Gortat finished with 25 points, so he gets docked accordingly.