Nets Gameday: Will Brooklyn’s losing streak end in Washington?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards
Kyrie Irving dribbles the ball as Washington Wizards guard Spencer Dinwiddie defends during the second quarter at Capital One Arena.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Trade Deadline will have come and gone by the time the Nets and Washington Wizards take the floor on Thursday night (7:30 p.m.). James Harden won’t be in the lineup, but the Nets will get some help back on the court with Kyrie Irving eligible to play.

The Nets go into the beltway having lost nine straight games and dropping all the way down to eighth in the Eastern Conference in the process. Brooklyn is coming off an ugly loss to the Boston Celtics on Monday, which saw them limited to just four points for nearly half the opening quarter.

At one point the nets had trailed 28-2.

The Nets did not have any of their “Big 3” on the court with Kevin Durant dealing with an MCL sprain, Irving ineligible to play and Harden out with tightness in his hamstring. Irving’s presence should at least ease some of the bleeding as the Nets limp to next week’s all-star break and Nic Claxton, who has dealt with hamstring issues of his own, was upgraded to questionable on Wednesday.

Brooklyn’s roster may look a bit different by the time they take the court at Capital One Arena Thursday night. James Harden has been the main focus amid speculation and conjecture that he wants out of Kings County, but the Nets do have other names that have popped on the rumor mill as well.

Whether general manager Sean Marks makes any additions to help bolster the Nets’ depleted roster, time will only tell. Nets head coach Steve Nash has tried to publically tamper down expectations for any deals getting done before 3 p.m.

“Honestly I think we’ll be exactly the same,” Nash said before Tuesday’s game. “I think the chances of trades or deals happening before the deadline are so slim, especially for our group. My mind and attention is on this group and putting this thing together as guys become healthy again.”

Nash doubled down on that Thursday morning when he spoke with reporters and told them Harden wasn’t going to be traded.

Regardless, the Nets are in need of a win in the worst way. Their night game losing streak is currently the longest active streak in the NBA and It’s their worst skid since they lost 16 in a row in 2017.

The Wizards have gone through their own struggles of late. They are coming off a 120-100 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday and have won just three of their last 10 games.

Washington is also in the midst of a two-game losing streak. The Wizards are one of six teams that the Nets have beaten since the calendar turned to 2022.

“I think the biggest thing with us these past games is our effort level and then our response,” Wizards’ Kyle Kuzma said. “It’s really tough when you get punched in the face and you don’t stand up. I think that just kinda sums up what’s going on. As soon as we hit a little bit adversity, it’s quite a challenge to get out of that.”

Nets Notables

Cam Thomas has averaged 22.3 ppg (.481 FG), 3.3 rpg, 3.7 apg and 1.0 spg in 30.5 mpg, scoring 20+ points twice. Thomas tallied 20+ points in consecutive games (2/4 and 2/6) for the second time this season. … Kessler Edwards has drawn 16 starts this season. The only player selected 44th or lower in Nets history to start more games as a rookie was Lowes Moore (20 starts in the 1980-81 season. … If the Nets win, it would give them a 3-0 season series lead over Washington with one game left to go this season. They’ll play again on Feb. 17 in Brooklyn.

Nets Injury Report

  • Nic Claxton (left hamstring tightness) — Questionable
  • James Harden (left hamstring tightness) — Out
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (left ankle sprain) — Out
  •  Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain) — Out
  • Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) — Out
  • Paul Millsap (personal reasons) — Out

Wizards Injury Report

  • Bradley Beal (left wrist sprain) — Out
  • Daniel Gafford (health and safety protocol) — Out

How To Watch

Thursday’s game will be televised both locally and nationally. Ian Eagle, Sarah Kustok and Michael Grady will call the game on YES Network, while Brian Anderson, Stan Van Gundy and Stephanie Ready will be on TNT’s broadcast. WFAN 101.9 FM / 660 AM will carry the game on the radio, with Chris Carrino and Tim Capstraw on the call.