The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 125-118 on Friday night. Here are five observations from the game...
1. The Wizards have a real problem with the Nets, a team they had dominated not long ago. With a loss in Brooklyn on Friday night, the Wizards have lost four of their past six meetings with the Nets. Previously, they won nine of 10 matchups going back to 2015.
The Wizards, to be fair, aren't playing well against anyone right now. They have lost four straight games and six of their last nine. This game was supposed to be one that was manageable, but they couldn't take advantage.
2. One of the most crippling problems for the Wizards season just will not go away. Once again, the Wizards were outworked on the glass and by a significant margin. The Nets out-rebounded the Wizards 46-25 and it could have been worse if it weren't for both teams shooting 52 percent or better.
Washington has now been edged in rebounds 22 times in 29 games this season. This time, it was a collective effort for their opponent. Seven different Nets players had four boards or more.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of Wizards players who came up short. Their entire starting lineup combined for eight rebounds. Thomas Bryant and Markieff Morris had three rebounds apiece.
3. Free throw shooting loomed large in this one, both in terms of attempts and percentage. The Nets took 31 free throws and made 26 of them, good for 83.9 percent. The Wizards attempted only 16 and made nine, for 56.3 percent.
Opponent free throw percentage is always an odd stat to evaluate. There is a certain amount of luck involved, as there's nothing teams can really do to affect it.
Yet, the Wizards happen to be near the bottom of the league in opponents free throw percentage. Teams are shooting 79.3 percent at the line in games against them. Only the Lakers have seen teams shoot better, at 81.6 percent.
4. Otto Porter Jr. was out for the second straight game as he continues to deal with a right knee contusion. Just like Wednesday, Porter was considered a gametime decision but was ruled out after a pregame workout with trainers.
Porter only played seven minutes on Monday before leaving with the injury, so he has missed the better part of three games. The team has described it as non-serious, that it's just a deep bruise, but it has been enough for him to miss consecutive games for the first time in nearly a year, since Dec. 17 and 19 of last season. He hasn't missed three games since the 2015-16 season, by the way.
5. With Porter out, it was once again Sam Dekker who benefitted most. Jeff Green got the start in Porter's place, but it was Dekker who got the leftover minutes as a backup. Head coach Scott Brooks has opted for Dekker in consecutive games now over Troy Brown Jr. and Devin Robinson. Brown was their first-round pick in June and Robinson has been in the system for two years now.
While Dekker is above those guys on the depth chart at the moment, that doesn't necessarily say much about the big picture. The Wizards could simply be using Porter's absence as an opportunity to get an extended look at their newest acquisition.
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