In an age where taking and making a lot of threes is every NBA team's goal, the Brooklyn Nets have mastered the ability to prevent their opponents from doing so. The Wizards found that out the hard way on Friday night in their 115-104 loss, which dropped them to 5-10 on the season.
Against the Nets, the Wizards attempted only 17 threes. They made three of them, which is tied for the fewest long range makes for any team this season.
Only three times this season has an NBA team made only three three-pointers. Brooklyn can boast two of those games, having also held the Cavs to three triples on Oct. 24.
To their credit, the Nets are exceptionally good at locking down the perimeter. After beating the Wizards, they have surrendered the fewest three-point makes and attempts in the NBA.
The Wizards haven't shot well from three this season, but they have at least been good at taking them. They are 27th out of 30 teams at 32.2 percent from three, but their 31.9 attempts per game are about five more than they averaged last season.
Shooting more threes has been the Wizards' intention. It's something head coach Scott Brooks wanted to see this season from his team.
Though they aren't going in, he believes they will at some point. The Wizards were fourth in basketball last year in three-point percentage (37.5).
But on Friday, the Nets took the Wizards' recent shooting woes to the extreme. They did so by using a two-tiered defensive approach.
They closed out the three-point line, forcing the Wizards to pass or dribble into the mid-range. While the Wizards would normally keep going to the rim, waiting for them was center Jarrett Allen.
Allen blocks 1.9 shots per game and alters many more. He also happens to have been acquired with the 2017 first round pick the Wizards sent over in the Bojan Bogdanovic trade.
Without an easy path to the rim, the Wizards were encouraged to settle for midrange shots. That's exactly what they do not want to do, but they took what the defense was giving them.
It just didn't work.
"They were clogging up the paint and we just didn’t have anything going offensively," Brooks said.
Of the Wizards' 87 total field goal attempts against the Nets, 80.5 percent of them were two-pointers. Their season average is 63.5 percent.
"They forced us to take the midrange shot, which is a bad shot. It was tough," guard Austin Rivers said.
The Wizards have now lost three of their last four games against the Nets dating back to last season. In the three losses, they have made five threes or fewer. In the lone win, they made 10.
Though threes are always important in today's NBA, they have been a huge determinant of wins and losses in this particular matchup.
Shooting guard Bradley Beal, for one, believes the way to get threes off against Brooklyn is to play faster. He thinks they need to take more in transition.
That may be the case. But they have to figure out something against this Brooklyn team because the current approach hasn't been working.
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