After splitting their two Mexico City games, the Nets returned home (their actual home) on Tuesday night. They faced the John Wall-less Washington Wizards at Barclays Center. It was the first game with Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas dressed in Brooklyn black and white – but both didn’t play. Still, the Nets were able to survive a close game against the Wizards
After looking gassed in their second game in Mexico City’s mile-and-a-half altitude, the Nets still looked sluggish early. They missed their first seven shots from deep. However, they bounced back later in the first quarter. Led by Joe Harris and other members of the Nets’ second unit, the Nets were able to snag a 30-22 lead after the first 12 minutes.
The Wizards showed some life in the second quarter, starting the frame off on a 9-0 run. The Wizards were buoyed by strong offensive rebounding, outrebounding the Nets by at least a margin of 5 throughout the first half. Both teams played a tightly contested second quarter, trading leads, baskets and defensive stops. Caris LeVert showed some life in the first half, scoirng 8 points and grabbing 4 assists. Jarrett Allen secured two huge blocks. But for Washington, Bradley Beal led the way, scoring 16 points – all from inside the arc. With Wall absent, Beal showed his effectiveness. At the end of the first half, the Nets and Wizards were locked at 51.
The Nets started off the third quarter hot, taking an 11-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the game. Tyler Zeller and Spencer Dinwiddie showed tremendous chemistry, carving up the paint. The Nets came out with more energy on both ends, with everyone seemingly getting involved. Towards the end of the third, Washington struck back, bringing what was a 14-point lead down to 1-point, 79-78. The Nets’ execution suffered and Washington capitalized on mistakes.
Washington regained the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But led by Tyler Zeller and Caris LeVert, Brooklyn regained the lead. The lead seesawed throughout the fourth, with each team fouling into the bonus early. The Nets had opportunities to take a big lead, but they were unable to convert open shots from the perimeter on multiple occasions.
Still, the Nets’ defense was able to contain Washington extending a lead. The Nets snapped a seven-minute no field goal drought with a DeMarre Carroll fast break finish with 2 minutes left in the game. Bradley Beal continued his strong game, stepping up for Washington all game. With 43 seconds left in the game, Allen Crabbe broke a cold game with a three to put the Nets on top by 2. After a Beal miss, the Nets were bailed out of a bad possession with an RHJ offensive board. Spencer Dinwiddie split a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds left, putting Brooklyn up 3. On the defensive end, the Nets came up big, forcing a 5-second call and turnover on Washington. Caris LeVert sank two big free throws to give the Nets the 103-98 win.
Despite Brooklyn’s weak shooting from three (10-43 for 23.3%), they were able to outlast the Wizards led by Bradley Beal. They improved to 11-15 on the season with the close victory.
The stats: 16 points, 50.0% FG%, 3-4 3PTM, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 turnovers, 28 minutes
Caris was vibing in the second and fourth quarters. The Nets’ sixth man dribbled, drove, shot and pass all to an excellent degree, with much of his performance leading to Nets runs. He showed great chemistry with Tyler Zeller. His third quarter, however was a bit shaky. But still, LeVert nailed two pivotal free throws to decide the game for the Nets.
The stats: 16 points, 55.6% FG%, 75.0% FT%, 12 rebounds, 27 minutes
RHJ had himself a funky game. With the Nets struggling to convert from the perimeter, RHJ did his best around the basket. He coaxed Wizards defenders into confusion, and did a solid job of defending Kelly Oubre on the other end. Most importantly, The Hyphen grabbed a big offensive rebound with 8 seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Nets.
The stats: 11 points, 66.7% FG%, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 20 minutes
He’s growing! The 19-year old had another game full of flashes of brilliance – a now more common occurence. He had two huge blocks, including a gumming that led to an RHJ dunk. He also had monster dunks as well. While Allen may have looked tentative at times, he still impressed. He earned fourth quarter minutes in crunch time as well.
The stats: 11 points, 28.6% FG%, 1-11 3PTM, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 32 minutes
Dinwiddie notched his second double-double of the season. However, his performance left much to be desired as a shooter. While the point guard did set his teammates up solidly, he struggled from the field, relying too much on perimeter shots rather than attacking the basket.