Photo Credit: wjla.com
Bradley Beal came out of his shooting slump, scoring 29 points to lead Washington to a hard-fought 112-108 overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets. It was Washington’s second consecutive victory. Beal was one of five Wizards who scored 15 or more points in the game. Nene scored 20 points to go with 8 rebounds, and John Wall added 17 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.
Brooklyn was led by Brook Lopez’ 23 points. Joe Johnson scored 16, while Andray Blatche added 10 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
Washington shot 46.6% from the floor, and garnered 36 rebounds, 28 assists on 41 baskets, 10 steals, 16 turnovers and 4 blocked shots.
Brooklyn also shot 46.6% from the floor, and collected 51 rebounds, 23 assists on 41 baskets, 11 steals, 21 turnovers and 3 blocked shots.
The teams combined for 1-of-10 shooting from the floor in the first three minutes of the game, then Brooklyn warmed up. Led by Lopez’ 12 points and Blatche’s 8, Brooklyn led by as many as 14 in the first quarter (20-6). Beal’s 10 points and Al Harrington’s 8 off the bench kept the Wizards close, with the Nets leading 33-27 at the close of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the two teams keep pace, with the Nets’ reserves Andrei Kirilenko, Shawn Livingston and Jason Terry scoring 6 points each to keep Brooklyn
Photo Credit: newsday.com
ahead. The Wizards’ Kevin Seraphin contributed a pair of baskets and Harrington hit a pair of 3s to help Washington stay close. Brooklyn led 58-53 at the half.
As the second half opened, Beal’s three baskets fueled a Washington 12-2 run to take a 65-60 lead. Then, the teams went three minutes without scoring. Joe Johnson broke Brooklyn’s scoring slump, finishing the third quarter with 9 points. The teams were tied at 73 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was a scrap, as Nene’s 12 points in the quarter kept the team in the contest. He scored 10 in the last 2:13 of regulation, including a clutch tip-in of a Wall miss with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Overtime opened with two free throws from Marcin Gortat and a Beal dunk off a pass from Nene. Brooklyn countered with a Deron Williams floater for two, a Paul Pierce basket, and a Williams three-pointer. Those shots gave Brooklyn a 106-105 lead. Trevor Ariza, who hadn’t scored from the field since the second quarter, hit a clutch three-pointer off a feed from Nene to give Washington a 108-106 lead. From there, Wall’s pair of free throws and another pair from Beal sealed a hard-fought victory.
This game was a great example of how the team is starting to mesh, and how important Nene is to the team’s fortunes. The Wall-Beal backcourt is dynamic as any in the Association, but Nene’s experience keeps the team afloat. His work on the boards, his active hands deflecting passes/getting the occasional steal, and low-post offense give the team flexibility on both ends. The Wizards need Nene to stay healthy and on the floor, especially in late-game situations.
Next up for Washington is a three-game road trip, starting with a Sunday night matchup at Oklahoma City. Watching Wall and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head will be enjoyable for serious basketball fans and the casual fans alike.
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