The Washington Wizards head to Brooklyn for the second time in less than two weeks and will try to avenge an earlier loss to the Nets when the teams meet Friday night. Playing without star point guard John Wall, the Wizards dropped a 103-98 decision at Brooklyn on Dec. 12, which happens to be the last win for the Nets.
Wall returned the next night when Washington began a 3-1 homestand that was capped by Tuesday’s 116-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, and he seems to be completely past the recent knee issues that caused him to miss nine games. “Basically, them telling me to go out there and be aggressive and don’t worry about minutes and go play,” Wall told reporters after an 18-point, 10-assist effort versus the Pelicans. “Coach has been telling me since the last game. I went out there without thinking about when I was coming out of the game or when I’m going back in, just trying to play and make the right reads.” Brooklyn lost four straight since the win over the Wizards while averaging 96.8 points. Three of the four defeats came at home, including the 104-99 setback against Sacramento on Wednesday.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN Washington, YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (17-14): While Wall is giving indications he’s just about at full speed, backup forward Mike Scott is showing no signs of slowing down a phenomenal shooting stretch. “It doesn’t matter if we talk about it, it’s not gonna jinx him,” coach Scott Brooks. “He’s been shooting the ball so well.” Scott’s 24 points against New Orleans was a season high and he was 11-for-15 from the floor to leave the Virginia product at 53-for-72 over an eight-game stretch.
ABOUT THE NETS (11-19): Brooklyn was behind 36-20 after one quarter against Sacramento as it continued a recent trend of poor starts, having trailed by at least 11 points at halftime in every game of the losing streak. “Giving up 36 points in the first quarter — you can’t get in a hole like that. It is disappointment in our defense and our defensive mentality to start the game,” coach Kenny Atkinson told the media. “We let our guard down in the first quarter. Dug a hole, and too deep of a hole.” Six players scored in double figures for the Nets with Spencer Dinwiddie’s 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting led the way.
1. Wizards leading scorer G Bradley Beal missed all seven of his 3-point tries and shot 11-for-33 overall in the loss at Brooklyn earlier this month.
2. Nets C Jahlil Okafor has not seen any action in the last two games as Atkinson gives him more time to get in shape and integrated into the system.
3. Wall is shooting 35.4 percent since returning from the knee injury.
PREDICTION: Wizards 109, Nets 103