The Skinny: The teams traded leads through the first few minutes. Deron Williams hit on a four-point play to give the Nets a one-point lead just after the midway point of the opening quarter. More back-and-forth lead changes ensued until a Bradley Beal bank-shot three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Wizards a one-point lead after one.
Washington raced out to a 19-2 run to open an 18-point lead to start the second quarter. Brook Lopez hit a layup at the 3:30 mark, which was the Nets’ first field goal of the quarter after 12 straight misses. The Wizards led by 20 at the break.
The Wizards maintained their 20-plus-point lead to start the third quarter. But then they went ice cold from the field, which allowed the Nets to make a dent into the lead. A 14-0 Brooklyn run got the Nets to within nine, but an A.J. Price three at the buzzer increased the Wizards’ lead to 12 after three.
Washington went back up 17 in the fourth quarter, which squashed any futile hope of a Nets’ comeback.
High Scorers: Williams led the Nets with 20 points on 7-of-20 from the field, dished out five assists and pulled down six rebounds. For the Wizards, Nene led the way with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double.
Key Stats: Ten of the Nets’ 15 turnovers came in the first half, allowing the Wizards to establish the huge lead. Washington’s bench also outscored Brooklyn’s bench, 30-13, and the Wizards held a 16-6 edge in fast-break points.
Who Was Hot: Martell Webster shot 6-of-9 from the field for 16 points. John Wall finished with 15 points, nine assists and four steals.
Who Was Not: The Nets had their worst shooting performance of the season at 25-of-76 from the field (33 percent). The previous low was 29-of-78 (37 percent) in a Nov. 11 win over the Orlando Magic.
Fun Fact: There are lots of connections between these two teams, but Nets’ assistant coach Doug Overton played for the Washington franchise from 1992-1995 when it was the Bullets. During those three seasons, Overton averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 assists in 18.4 minutes per game.
We can sit here and say that the Wizards are a much better team with Wall back. Washington is now 9-7 with him in the lineup and 5-28 without him.
But they’re still the 14-win Washington Wizards. There is no excuse from the Nets for the effort they put forth in this one.
Brooklyn missed wide-open looks all night en route to its worst shooting performance of the season. The poor second-quarter trend also continued, with the Nets hitting on just 4-of-22 shots in the second frame for 11 points. The team has scored less than 20 points in four straight second quarters.
Andray Blatche’s second return to Washington was not nearly as productive as his double-double performance in the first. He finished 2-of-9 from the field for five points and missed all five of his six free-throw attempts.
The Wizards have now won 8-of-9 games on their home court as they continue their turnaround. Of the team’s 14 wins, 10 have come against teams above .500, including the Heat, Thunder, Clippers and Knicks.
Washington has now held its opponents under 100 points for a season-high eight straight games and in 16-of-18 overall. Meanwhile, the Nets have only scored 100 points once in their last 12 games.
With the schedule heating up before the All-Star break, this was exactly the type of effort the Nets wanted to avoid
Brooklyn (29-21) squares off against the Spurs, who embarrassed the Nets in the only other meeting this season, Sunday night. The 8 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN and the YES Network.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.