Wall blocks Deron Williams to seal win for Wizards
NEW YORK -- Bradley Beal didn't have to carry the Wizards on Wednesday night. It was John Wall who got them out fast in the first quarter and again in the third to win their second game in a row and defeat the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this season. And Nene, playing for the first time since Dec. 6, closed them out in the fourth at Barclays Center.
Wall made his first five field-goal attempts, including 3-for-3 on three-pointers, and Deron Williams couldn't contain him. Williams was held to 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting. Joe Johnson, who made 10 three-pointers in a win for Brooklyn on Monday, went 2-for-6 from deep, 8-for-14 overall, to finish with 20 points.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for just eight points on 3-for-16 shooting when the Nets lost at Verizon Center on Nov. 8. Pierce came off the bench this time to lead all scorers with 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting and grab six rebounds. Garnett had seven points in just 25 minutes. He fouled out.
The Wizards (11-13) had seven players score in double figures. Wall had 21, Nene 17, Trevor Ariza and Beal 15, Martell Webster 13 and Marcin Gortat and Kevin Seraphin 10. They shot 12-for-20 on three-pointers.
Turning point: The Wizards' ability to close in the fourth made all the difference. They not only converted high-percentage shots at the end, but got defensive stops. Gortat's putback of Wall's miss was huge, highlighting a 51-31 edge in rebounding. The offensive rebounding edge was 19-5. Beal's three-pointer with 1:08 left and free throws from Nene sealed the outcome.
Best in show: Nene. With such a comprehensive team effort, it's difficult to choose one player. But Nene's presence in the crunch made all the difference. He scored seven points in the fourth quarter and made the key assist to Beal on his late three. He shot 6-for-10.
Limited time: Nene played 22 minutes after missing four games. Trevor Booker started in his place again and posted a solid game of with seven points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes. Beal, who played 30 minutes in his first game back from a stress injury to his right leg on Monday, played 28.
Bench produces: Seraphin, getting the call ahead of Jan Vesely, turned in another solid performance by going 3-for-6 and grabbing five rebounds. Just as importantly, he had just one turnover on an offensive foul in 19 minutes. Garrett Temple was the first ball-handler off the bench and contributed five points. In all, the reserves had 45 points.
DNP: Eric Maynor, Chris Singleton and Vesely did not play.
Up next: The Wizards returned to D.C. after the game, where they will be practice before leaving Friday for Boston for a game against the Celtics on Saturday (CSN, 1 p.m. ET).
From the locker room: "We had just a lot of really good play from a lot of people, and to outrebound them by 20 was key for us against this team. This team beat us pretty bad, the first time we played them, on the boards. I challenged out big guys a little bit tonight to see if we could step up and we did. ... Once we got the ball moving side-to-side and they closed out, we were able to penetrate the gaps and make the extra pass. Our bigs passed the ball, interior-wise, as good as we've done." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
"We trusted each other and we moved the ball. We trusted in our offense and the play-calling we had. We're a team that competed and we felt we could have won those three or four games that Nene and Bradley Beal were out. We just didn't do a good job of closing them out. It makes it a lot easier when those guys are back." -- Wall
"The defensive help, they were non-traditional in a lot of things they did. What I mean by that is usually our big rolls up and you rotate easily. They didn't do that tonight. They crashed (the boards) with three or four guys each time and they were able to get offensive rebounds and offensive rebounds means second shots. And we didn't do a good job of controlling that and making that adjustment." -- Garnett
"I am just starting to get things going after the start to the season. My hand is feeling good. My groin is feeling good. Understanding the system and understanding my spots." -- Pierce, who had a broken right shooting hand and is now coming off the bench