Brooklyn Nets vs. Washington Wizards Pre-Game Report

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Randy Foye (2) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards guard Trey Burke (33) and Wizards forward Daniel Ochefu (32) defend in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 118-95. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Randy Foye (2) shoots the ball as Washington Wizards guard Trey Burke (33) and Wizards forward Daniel Ochefu (32) defend in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 118-95. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In the second half of their back-to-back, the Brooklyn Nets are looking to end their losing skid tonight as they host the red-hot Washington Wizards. 

The Washington Wizards are hot. The Brooklyn Nets… are not so hot.

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Coming into this game, the Nets are on a ten-game losing streak and have lost 21 of their last 22 games. They currently have a miserable 9-43 record and are desperately searching for their 10th win of the season.

If they’re going to get that 10th win tonight, they will need a stellar performance. The Wizards are currently one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 games and boast an overall record of 30-21. That record is good for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards lost a heartbreaker in their last game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. LeBron James sank an absurd bank three-pointer as time expired to send the game to overtime, and Kyrie Irving hit the dagger as time ran down in that OT period. Still though, the Wizards are red-hot.

This game will be the third of four meetings between the teams this season. The Wizards have won the previous two by a combined 28 points.

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball as Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball as Brooklyn Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead (15) in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nets’ Keys to Victory

Stop John Wall

While it may be obvious, this is the biggest key to the game for the Nets if they want any chance of winning.

This season, in matchups against the Nets, Wall is averaging 22 points, 13.5 assists, and 3.5 steals per game on 51.5 percent shooting. Clearly, he’s been the biggest reason the Nets have lost both meetings to the Wizards.

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The same result will happen if the Nets are unable to contain Wall. He’s been extra hot as of late, so it will be a tough task for the Nets’ poor defense to stop a player of his caliber.

Regardless, they’ll need to try to double team him, press him at half-court, and do whatever takes to stop him. But the Nets can’t go through their routine defense with Wall if they want any shot at winning.

If you can’t defend them… just outscore them

It will be tough to rely on the defense of the Nets, so it seems the only other way they can win this is to have a huge scoring outburst.

In both of the Wizards’ wins against the Nets this season, they have scored exactly 118 points. So for that sake, let’s set the over/under for the Nets to win this one at 118.5.

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This may be a lot to ask for, considering the Nets haven’t score 119 points since their 143-point burst against the New Orleans Pelicans. But maybe this is exactly the reason why the Nets haven’t been winning as of late.

So to beat the red-hot Wizards, the Nets will NEED to put up a big number tonight.

Players to Watch

Nets: Brook Lopez (C) – 20.3 points per game, 46.6 percent field goal percentage this season

Wizards: John Wall (G) – 23 points per game, 11.4 assists per game in last 10 games

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) and Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) chase a loose ball in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) and Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic (44) chase a loose ball in the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Starters

Nets:

Wizards:

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Injuries

Nets:

Wizards:

Key Matchup

Sean Kilpatrick vs. Bradley Beal

This will be a fun matchup to watch, as it is between two rising stars at the shooting guard position. Beal certainly has a better skill-set than Kilpatrick, but if Kilpatrick can outplay him come game time, the game could potentially be a lot closer.

The game will be broadcasted on YES Network at 7:30 PM EST. Join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @NetsBlogFS.

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