Nets 106, Wizards 101
On a night when the four of the Brooklyn Nets’ five starters
rested, a meaningless April game provided ample opportunity for a
group of players that will be mostly watching from the bench when
the playoffs tip off.
Andray Blatche led a bevy of Brooklyn reserves, whose most
playing time has come in blowout games, with 20 points and 11
rebounds and the Nets erased an early 17-point deficit to beat the
Washington Wizards 106-101 on Monday night.
Before the game, Nets interim head P.J. Carlesimo read off a
sheet that resembled a football injury report. However, he was
proud of the way they managed to fight back.
”They fell in a hole early and they just kept plugging and
plugging,” he said. ”They did a really good job. At times, our
defense was lousy but we also got some big stops in the fourth
quarter. They were working. We had a lot of individuals play hard.
It was really nice to see.”
Carlesimo used the game to gauge how forward Gerald Wallace
would react after missing the last two games due to a heel injury
that was listed as a lower left leg contusion by the teams.
”I thought he really looked good,” Carlesimo said. ”He’s
upset with Timmy (trainer) and I that he didn’t play more, but the
whole point was to get him out and get a little cardio work and
make sure his foot was all right. We were pleased. Hopefully if he
comes out of it well tomorrow, we can play him more on
Carlesimo was also pleased with the way Kris Humphries played in
34 minutes and is expecting a significant contribution from him
once the playoffs start. Humphries, who was the team’s original
starting power forward at the beginning of the season before
falling out of the rotation, added 20 points and nine boards for
”We’re not going to be successful in the playoffs unless we get
the Kris Humphries that we know,” Carlesimo said. ”It was a big
step for him. The more time we can get him in and the more success
he has, the better it’s going to be.”
Mirza Teletovic added 14 points and MarShon Brooks chipped in 12
for the Nets, who will host Detroit on Wednesday night before they
open up at home in the first round of the Eastern Conference
What appeared as though was going to turn into a lopsided win
for Washington turned into a victory for the Nets, spearheaded in
the second half by the seldom used Brooklyn rookie trio of
Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor and Toko Shengelia, who was the 54th
overall pick of last year’s NBA draft and was then acquired that
same night from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Shengelia, who has played 67 minutes all season, saw 25 minutes.
After averaging 1.1 points and 0.7 rebounds and 3:42 minutes in 18
games, Shengelia finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor
scored 11 of his 14 in the fourth quarter.
John Wall led Washington with 18 points and 12 assists, while
Trevor Booker added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who
lost for the fifth straight time.
Washington shot 63.2 percent from the field (24 of 38) in the
first half, but the Nets defense held them to just 43.6 percent (17
of 39) in the second half, including 8 of 21 in the third
Wizards head coach Randy Whitman was disappointed with the way
his team played in the final quarter and felt like the team had
”In that fourth quarter, we just came out to play 12 minutes,”
Whitman said. ”We just wanted to get the 12 minutes over with. We
lost our pride in defending, which is really discouraging
considering the way we’ve shown we can defend. … I don’t care if
this is the second to last game or not, you’ve got to have a little
bit of pride to play defense in the fourth quarter to win a game.
Twelve minutes to go, `Let’s just get these 12 minutes over
”That’s what it looked like to me.”
Brooklyn trailed for pretty much all of the game before finally
taking a 95-94 lead on Shengelia’s layup with 4:57 left in the
fourth. Booker’s hook shot with 4:37 remaining gave the Wizards a
96-95 lead. Shengelia later blocked Wall’s layup attempt. The
Wizards then failed to inbound the ball and Teletovic nailed a
3-pointer to make it 98-96 for the Nets with 3:19 left. Booker then
tipped in a missed jumper by Wall that evened it up, 98-98, but
Teletovic then hit a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 101-98 lead
with 2:33 left.
After Cartier Martin’s 3-pointer made it 101-101 with 1:43 left,
Blatche’s layup gave Brooklyn the lead for good. Martin tried to
tie it with another 3-pointer but missed and Taylor followed up
with a 3-pointer of his own to make it 106-101 with 22 seconds
Nets starters Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans and Joe
Johnson all played cheerleading roles on the bench and were joined
by Keith Bogans and Jerry Stackhouse.
Brooklyn will play the Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks in the
first round. The Hawks have a half-game lead over the Bulls with
two games remaining. If the Hawks go 1-1 and the Bulls win their
game against Washington on Wednesday night, the Nets will face the
Notes: Brooklyn’s win over the Wizards clinched the season
series (3-1). … The 48 wins for the Nets are their most since
recording 49 during the 2005-06 season.