Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/9/13
Washington Wizards big man Nene backed down Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett, spun right to get the veteran off of the floor, then dipped back left before kicking out his leg and pushing the ball toward the rim. As the ball bounded off the rim and dropped through the net, Nene turned, hopped and did a little tap dance on those same delicate feet that have caused him so much pain in his time with the team. Nene’s celebration was one of many expressions of emotion on a night in which the Brazilian forward re-introduced himself to home fans at Verizon Center and quickly reminded them of his value in a 112-108 overtime victory. “Nene was huge,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “No question about it. He’s important to us, not just points and stat sheets. His presence goes a long away.” After missing last week's home opener with a strained left calf, Nene scored 20 points — 12 coming in the fourth quarter, when the Wizards rallied from a nine-point deficit with 3 minutes, 40 seconds remaining. Nene grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists, including a one-handed chest pass to Trevor Ariza, who provided the go-ahead three-pointer with 40.3 seconds left. He also blocked an attempted dunk by Garnett, meeting him at the rim to slap the ball away and eliciting a spirited response from the fans – and John Wall, who enthusiastically thumped Nene across the chest. “Nene was tremendous,” center Marcin Gortat said. “He brought us back. Basically, he won this game by himself.” He certainly had plenty of support. Wall experienced back spasms early Friday morning and played through pain to contribute 17 points, a season-high 14 assists and infectious hustle on the defensive end. Bradley Beal matched his career high with 29 points and Gortat had 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds as the Wizards (2-3) won their second game in a row. Washington overcame a 14-point deficit and snapped a two-game losing streak against the Nets. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 23 points, but Gortat helped limit him to just five points in the second half. It was the second time in three regular season meetings at Verizon Center that couldn’t be settled in regulation. They also had an overtime game in the preseason last month. “I was talking to Joe [Johnson] and he was like, ‘Not this again,’ ” Beal said. “But whenever we play them, it’s always competitive. And you should want that. Whatever it takes to get the win, we’re going to do that. One overtime or 10 overtimes.” After missing his first seven shots, Garnett gave the Nets a 94-85 lead when he buried a long jumper. The Wizards then went on a 12-2 run, highlighted by a pair of three-point plays from Nene.
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