The last time the Wizards played the Nets was on November 4th in DC, and it’s a game Washington won’t soon forget. The Nets dominated from start to finish, winning with a final score of 128-86. Since then, the wizards have seemingly turned a corner. They went 7-5 and played some of their best basketball games of the season. Now it’s time for a rematch in Brooklyn.
WHERE: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
IF: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Washington
RADIO: The Team 980 and the Wizards app
Rui Hachimura (right ankle pain – out)
Delon Wright (right hamstring – out)
David Duke Jr. (Non-COVID disease – questionable)
Ben Simmons (left knee hurts – out)
TJ Warren (left foot; recovering from injury – absent)
Yuta Watanabe (right hamstring – out)
Alondes Williams (right adductor strain – out)
KRISTAPS PORZINGIS’ HEAT CHECK
NBA fans are familiar with the concept of the heat check. It often happens after a player has made a few nice plays in a row. The tire looks as big as the ocean. You feel the utmost trust. And they do a heat check — usually a deep shot.
This showdown against the Nets will essentially act as Porzingis’ heat check throughout the game. On Monday night in DC, he dropped a career-high 41 points on an absurdly efficient 12-of-18 shooting from the field, 6-of-10 shots from deep and 11-of-11 shots from the free-throw line. He was also a threat on defense, recording three blocks and two steals.
The Wizards came away with a win in that game and now Porzingis is getting another 48 minutes to see if he’s still hot as fire.
BRADLEY BEAL OPENS THE GAME WITH AGGRESSION
On Monday night against Wolves, one of the reasons the Wizards got off to a good start was Beal’s aggressiveness from the start. He scored nine points in the first nine minutes on a 4-of-4 shot from the field.
Obviously, it’s unreasonable to expect him to take his first four shots every night, but it’s not necessarily about the makes and misses. It’s about how his aggression looks to his teammates.
When Beal aggressively seeks his own shot, it instills fear in opposing defenses. He is one of the top scorers in basketball and demands attention at all times. This opens the court for any other wizard. In that case, keep Beal’s offensive approach in mind.
It’s no secret: Kevin Durant is the engine that makes this Nets team run. He’s been sensational this season, coming off a Monday night performance that saw him drop 45 points on an ungodly 19-of-24 shot from the field. When it’s on, there’s no stopping it.
For the wizards, the key will be to narrow down the guys around Durant. Can they make life difficult for Kyrie Irving? Can they keep Nic Claxton off the rim? Can they outrun Seth Curry and Joe Harris from the three-point line? If they can do that, they have a good chance of an important away win.