New acquisition James Harden sat out with a thigh contusion, but two of the three-headed offensive threat took the court. In the early minutes, putting points on the board seemed effortless, as Brooklyn opened up an almost immediate 31-13 lead, leading by ten at the end of the first quarter.
However, another night of sloppy basketball and poor performances off the bench would give Brooklyn big issues down the line. Washington’s reinforcements outmatched Brooklyn’s, as Moe Wagner and Ish Smith combined for 30 points.
Through the first three quarters, the Nets maintained the lead, passing the 100-point mark with two minutes to go. Washington continued to stay in reach, as Nets turnovers continued to give Washington extra possessions.
Just before the fourth quarter, a Russell Westbrook steal and Wagner jumper beat the buzzer to make it 108-101.
In the fourth, the Nets put up a ninth consecutive quarter with at least 30 points, but Bradley Beal and Westbrook ignited to lead a Washington comeback. With the score 131-128, Westbrook grabbed a rebound and brought the ball down court for a layup and a foul, cutting the lead to one.
Brooklyn recaptured a five-point lead with 15 seconds left, but Washington wizardry made it disappear. With ten seconds to go, Beal heaved up and hit a deep three. On a rushed inbound, the ball fell right to Garrison Matthews, who handed it off to Westbrook for another three.
In the blink of an eye, Washington was ahead, with just seconds left to play. On a final inbound play, Irving’s pass found a cutting Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, but the Frenchman’s rushed layup rimmed out, with the Wizards securing an improbable win.
Westbrook scored a season high 41 points, with Beal not far behind with 37. Durant and Harris both recorded at least 30 points for the Nets, but all eyes were on the defense, as Brooklyn’s 146 points was somehow not enough to hold off the 4-12 Wizards, the final score reminiscent of an All-Star Game.
The Nets may be the league’s toughest offensive threat, but they are on pace to be one of the worst-ever defensive teams. If Brooklyn can clean up their game and improve on their issues, they can become favorites in the East. If not, Brooklyn could be bound for another disappointing postseason.