The lowly New Jersey Nets have surprisingly won their last two road games. They'd like to find some of that success at home.
The Nets look to end their franchise-record eight-game home skid Sunday night when they meet the Washington Wizards in a matchup of last-place teams.
All New Jersey (6-52) has left to play for this season is to try to avoid the worst record in NBA history set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73. The Nets took a big step in that direction Saturday with a surprising 104-96 victory at Atlantic Division-leading Boston, ending a 12-game skid against the Celtics.
Brook Lopez scored 25 points and Devin Harris and Courtney Lee added 23 and 21 as New Jersey never trailed after the first quarter and led by as many as 18 points in the fourth. It was the Nets' first road game since a 103-94 victory at Charlotte on Feb. 16.
"Any win for us is big. There's no question," coach Kiki Vandeweghe said. "But to get a win on the road, and this is one of the toughest places to play in the NBA just shows that - it should demonstrate to our guys that if they play with effort, they can compete against anybody.''
Harris and Lee turned in second straight strong efforts. The backcourt mates each scored 28 points in a 102-93 home loss to Portland on Tuesday.
That was the latest in this string of defeats at home in New Jersey's final season at the Izod Center before moving to Newark's Prudential Center. The skid began with an 81-79 loss to Washington (20-36) on Jan. 29.
The Wizards were a different team then, and have since traded away three starters from that game while superstar guard Gilbert Arenas is serving his indefinite suspension. Those moves have resulted in a vastly different team, with Andray Blatche the focal point.
Blatche has shined in starting the first six games after the All-Star break, averaging 25.0 points on 56.9 percent shooting and 11.2 boards. The fifth-year forward still feels he is adjusting to his role.
"This is all new for me," Blatche said. "I've never been the go-to guy."
Blatche had 26 points and 18 rebounds while Randy Foye scored 22 and added season-high 10 assists Friday in a 118-116 overtime loss at home to New York.
Foye, who leads all current Wizards with 30 starts, is also getting used to the change surrounding the Wizards.
"At times it's tough because when I call sets, a lot of them don't know exactly what we're in," Foye said. "But this is the NBA, that's what happens. When new guys come in, they've gotta learn on the fly."
The Wizards have won three straight at the Izod Center. The Nets are 0-14 in the second half of back-to-back games.