Nene had scored the tying basket, Paul Pierce was still without a point, and Joe Johnson was among those feeling deja vu when the horn sounded at the end of regulation, sending the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets to overtime for the second time in three games at the Verizon Center.
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”I was talking to Joe on the court,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. ”And he was like, ‘Not this again.’ I just started laughing.”
Pierce eventually made a jumper, avoiding his first scoreless game since he was a rookie, but Nene had another big play to make, supplying the assist for Trevor Ariza’s go-ahead 3-pointer in the extra period Friday night as the Wizards won 112-108.
”How up-and-down was that one?” Washington coach Randy Wittman said with a smile as he headed toward the locker room.
Up and down. Back and forth. The Nets blew an 11-point lead in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter, when Nene essentially carried the Wizards by scoring 12 of his 20 points, including consecutive three-point plays and then the putback of John Wall’s missed layup that tied the score at 99 with 1.2 seconds remaining.
”Amazing,” Wizards forward Martell Webster said. ”Gut-check time – and he showed up.”
Beal scored 29 points, matching his career-high, Wall had 17 points and 14 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who nearly shut out both Pierce and Kevin Garnett for the first time since the 1990s.
Garnett didn’t score until his 18-footer with 3:40 to play in regulation, and Pierce waited until overtime before hitting a jumper. Pierce, who was a game-time decision to play after missing the morning shootaround with an illness, finished 1 for 5.
Garnett was 2 for 11 and had a dunk attempt emphatically stuffed by Nene in the third quarter. He also had six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
”I’m not in an offensive rhythm that I would like,” Garnett said. ”But that’s not a priority here. . The priority is getting the stops and finishing teams off and finishing quarters off and coming out with better thirds. Who cares about this offense? Needless to say, we got to make buckets. When you come here, you come here with the idea of sacrificing something. I didn’t really shoot the ball well, but other places, I made up pretty well.”
Pierce did not address reporters after the game.
”He’s a pro. He put the uniform on, not feeling well,” Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd said. ”But he came out and gave us everything he could. To be able to answer the call in that overtime, that just shows his leadership and being a professional.”
Pierce has been held without a point only once in his NBA career – as a rookie in 1999 with the Boston Celtics. Garnett’s only scoreless games were also in his rookie year, three times with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1995-96 season.
Brook Lopez scored 23 points, and Johnson had 16 for the Nets, who are 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Ex-Wizards forward Andray Blatche, booed every time he touched the ball, added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Brooklyn committed 23 turnovers, including nine in the third quarter, essentially cancelling out its 51-36 rebounding advantage. The Nets also went 6 for 24 from 3-point range.
The Wizards and Nets played a double-overtime game in Washington last season. The home team lost that one.
”If you want to be a good team and have a chance of being in the playoffs,” Wall said, ”you’ve got to win close games. We didn’t give up.”
NOTES: The Wizards didn’t get their first offensive rebound until the 6:38 mark of the second quarter – and it was grabbed by the shortest player on the roster, 6-foot-3 backup point guard Eric Maynor, who was following up his own shot. … The Nets dominated in second-chance points: 17-0 at halftime and 21-6 for the game.