BROOKLYN – Going from playing the best team in the East to the worst team in the NBA represents a huge “trap” game for anybody, but especially the Wizards after an overtime loss that should’ve been a victory.
Wednesday, the Wizards handed Brooklyn (9-44) its 11th consecutive loss 114-110 but it required to going into overtime again in a game that was far more difficult than expected behind the 32nd double-double from John Wall (23 points, 12 assists, six rebounds) and Bradley Beal’s game-high (31 points).
Marcin Gortat produced his 30th double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds), Jason Smith (15 points, eight rebounds) and Otto Porter (20 points, 10 rebounds) contributed heavily.
The Wizards (31-21) win the season series 3-0 with one meeting remaining. Two nights ago, the Wizards lost 140-135 to the Cavaliers to end a 17-game home win streak.
They led by as much as 43-30 in the first half and appeared on their way to an easy victory in which they could rest starters. But turnovers (17) led to the Nets getting help to get back in it. They had a big edge in second-chance points (26-18) because of their offensive rebounds (15).
Brook Lopez (20 points, six rebounds) missed on his drive to the basket but was allowed to tap in his own miss to tie the score at 89. The Nets missed several other chances on open shots to take the lead but it was a dunk from Gortat that broke a 98-98 tie and then he took a charge from Lopez with 1:20 left to negate a basket and foul out the big man.
The Wizards, however, never were able to quite put them away. Bogan Bogdanovic (team-high 21 points) got Gortat on a switch and banked in a shot to tie the score at 100 to produce overtime.
Brooklyn led twice in the extra session but putbacks by Porter on three offensive rebounds kept the Wizards alive. His two free throws with 1:21 left put the Wizards on top for good.
Bogdanovic missed a three that could’ve tied the score at 113 with 2.9 seconds left. Like vs. Cleveland when LeBron James tied it with a three on an inbounds, the Wizards opted not to foul.
--Smith was the key in helping the Wizards get back on top in the fourth. After Wall missed a jumper with the score tied at 91, Smith grabbed the offensive rebound. Smith also cleaned up a missed jumper from Porter and got to the line for two foul shots to break the tie. Smith also grabbed a defensive rebound in traffic on the next possession as his team went up 95-91. It wasn’t until the final three minutes that he was subbed out for the starter, Kelly Oubre.
--When these teams played here Dec. 5, Brooklyn scored 65 points in the first half and led by 15 points. The Wizards kept them to 49 this time and trailed most of the way after they were down 18-16. When they played in D.C. on Dec. 30, the Wizards won 118-95 behind 27 from Trey Burke.
--Ian Mahinmi (two points, five rebounds) played in his first game since Nov. 26 and logged five minutes in the first half. He made his only shot (his first field goal in Washington) and picked up three fouls. Mahinmi is foul prone, but the plan for him is to play 10-12 minutes per game likely until the All-Star break. Mahinmi showed what he can do when it comes to helping and contesting in the paint. With him on the floor, the Wizards went from being up just 74-72 to 79-72 entering the fourth. It was a modest bump but the breathing room was needed nonetheless. On the first possession of the fourth, Mahinmi went vertical on help vs. Trevor Booker to force a bad miss. Burke (seven points, two assists) added a three-pointer after that for a 10-point lead.
---Markieff Morris (right calf) was a scratch because of soreness. He has had issues with his right ankle and foot earlier in the season but missed only one game because of it. This likely was more of a precautionary move because of the opponent. If this were the Cleveland Cavaliers, Morris would be in the lineup. Oubre started but was out of sync (0 points) in 34 minutes.
--Following a turnover in the inbounds, Wizards coach Scott Brooks was assessed a technical foul for the second game in a row and it gave the Nets a free throw to cut the deficit to 86-83 with 7:34 left. Booker then had a layup to trim the deficit to one and Brooks called a timeout. That’ll cost him $2,000. Very little was called both ways when the game was on the line and played at a breakneck pace. At halftime, despite the attacking efforts of Wall and Beal off the dribble they combined to shoot 0 free throws.
--After shooting 4-for-10 on free throws in the first half (facing Nets superfan Mr. Whammy), the Wizards went 21-for-23 in the second half on the other end (away from Mr. Whammy. Wall’s foul shot in the end made it a two-possession game to seal the victory. Coincidence?