The Brooklyn Nets (48-33) rested four of their five starters Monday night, yet the Washing Wizards (29-52) managed to come up short with a 106-101 loss at the Barclays Center.
John Wall topped the Wizards’ leaderboard with a mere 18 points. Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, Cartier Martin and Garrett Temple each recorded double-digit points for Washington, yet Andray Blatche – of all people – pushed the Nets ahead with his 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington even shot 53.2% from the field – compared with the Nets’ 46.7% – and went 15-for-20 from the free throw line. Nevertheless, the numbers should have indicated the Wizards 30th win of the season given the fact that Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse all served as spectators from Brooklyn’s bench.
However, the Wizards looked sloppy, turning the ball over 20 times to hand Brooklyn key opportunities, particularly in the second half.
Washington started things off on the right foot in the first quarter. Emeka Okafor slammed one in just over three minutes into the game and Martin drilled a three to help Washington to a 16-7 lead.
Martin followed up with another just minutes later to give the Wizards a 22-9 boost and, with the help of Temple’s and Seraphin’s jumpers in the final two minutes of the quarter, Washington rode a 13-point lead into the second, up 34-21.
But, the Wizards showed signs of wear and tear in the second quarter, thanks in part to Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries, who also recorded 20 points on the night.
A.J. Price and Jan Vesely each turned the ball over in the first two minutes of the quarter, redeeming themselves on a joint play to provide Vesely with a basket to keep Washington in front by 12. Unfortunately for Washington, they didn’t do much more and with eight minutes remaining before the half, the Wizards sparked a five-minute dry spell in which only Chris Singleton and Vesely added baskets to Wall’s two free throws.
Vesely made another two-point shot with 2:39 remaining and both Temple and Seraphin quickly followed with baskets of their own but Washington closed out the half with just a 56-50 lead.
The Wizards held a nine-point lead as late as 9:45 into the third, but Blatche and Humphries helped pull Brooklyn back within four, trailing just 77-73 into the final 12 minutes of play.
Washington’s free throws helped keep the Nets in their rearview mirror until Tornike Shengelia followed Kris Joseph’s two free throws with a driving layup to give Brooklyn a 95-94 lead with 4:56 left to play.
Booker’s basket just seconds later put Washington back on top, 96-95, but the Wizards handed over one too many foul shots before Mirza Teletovic sunk a three to make it 101-98 Nets.
Martin’s three for the Wizards tied things up 101-all with 1:43 remaining, but Seraphin’s bad pass with 1:14 remaining helped Blatche and the Nets to a go-ahead layup. Tyshawn Taylor’s 26-footer provided the icing for the cake as the Nets shut down the Wizards by the final score of 106-101.