Wizards defense suffocates Nets

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 08, 2013
The Washington Wizards held the Brooklyn Nets without a field goal for nearly nine minutes during the first half, survived a second-half slump and held on for an 89-74 victory Friday night in their latest win over a team near the top of the standings. Nene had 20 points and 11 rebounds, John Wall added 15 points and nine assists, and Martell Webster scored 16 points for the Wizards, who have one of the worst records in the NBA but have nevertheless taken eight of their last nine at home - a stretch that includes wins over Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and the Los Angeles Clippers. Deron Williams scored 20 points for the Nets, who lost to a sub-.500 team for only the second time this season. They fell apart quickly in this one: After a first quarter that included 10 lead changes, Brooklyn went 0 for 12 from the field to start the second and trailed 51-31 at halftime. The Wizards rolled off a 22-2 run during the Nets' field goal drought, which finally ended on Brook Lopez's inside basket with 3:36 remaining in the half. Brooklyn shot 4 for 22 for the period and scored 11 points, just one more than Nene. The Wizards pushed the lead to 23 in the third quarter when Emeka Okafor made a fadeaway jumper just as the shot clock was expiring, then hit a dry spell of their own. Williams started a 14-0 run with a 3-pointer and ended it with a steal and layup that cut Washington's lead to nine in the final minute of the period. But the Wizards responded. Webster hit his third 3-pointer of the game to extend the lead to 14 with 7 1/2 minutes to play, and Wall followed with the play of the day - a behind-the-back-and-dish move on a fast break that led to a dunk by Trevor Ariza that made the score 74-58. Notes: Former Wizards F Andray Blatche, booed heavily every time he touched the ball in his second trip back to the Verizon Center, scored five points. The crowd cheered when he missed a dunk, cheered again when he had a dunk blocked and cheered aplenty during his 1-for-6 performance at the free throw line. ... Wizards rookie Bradley Beal returned after missing five games with a sprained right wrist. He scored three points in 18 minutes. ... Nets F-G Jerry Stackhouse missed the game with a stiff neck. ... The Wizards have held their last eight opponents under 100 points. ... Brooklyn had been 18-1 vs. teams with losing records. ... The Wizards, who play in Chinatown, celebrated Chinese New Year throughout the evening, with Chinese-themed entertainment before the game and at halftime.
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