After ending a season-worst losing streak, the Brooklyn Nets get to turn right around against the same opponent and try to also do away with a season-worst home skid.
The Washington Wizards head to Brooklyn for the first time with former Net Paul Pierce on Saturday night to complete a home-and-home set 24 hours after being embarrassed in the nation’s capital.
Pierce and the rest of the Wizards (27-13) were silenced in Friday’s 102-80 loss to end Brooklyn’s seven-game losing streak, during which Lionel Hollins’ team had averaged 89.3 points.
"It makes me smile," Hollins said of the skid ending. "It was tough. It was really tough."
Despite the win, Hollins isn’t fond of the home-and-home format.
"I hate it," said Hollins, whose team is 3-6 on no rest. "It’s a little like the playoffs. Play one and go on to another."
Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack each scored 26 points, while John Wall paced the Wizards with just 13. Pierce was held to eight points in his first game against his former team.
Washington was 4 of 17 from 3-point range, which led to its lowest-scoring effort of the season. Over a 5-5 stretch, the Wizards have averaged 95.1 points after scoring 100.6 during a 22-8 first two months of the season.
"We had no focus, no energy, no urgency," coach Randy Wittman said. "A lack of respect for your opponent and the game and that’s what happens. Lesson learned, hopefully."
That lack of urgency might be showing through in how they pressure the ball. The Wizards forced 10 turnovers against the Nets and are averaging 11.8 over the last 10 games. In their first 30, they were creating 15.4. It’s resulted in 11.2 points off turnovers during the .500 stretch after their previous mark of 16.8.
Brooklyn (17-23), meanwhile, has been a strong defensive team while limiting opponents to 94.2 points and 43.4 percent shooting in the past 11 games.
For Lopez, the subject of many trade rumors, a 25-point second half made for something of a breakout effort after he was limited to 12.8 points per game in his first 13 contests after returning from a back strain. The trade rumors aren’t of concern to him.
"I don’t pay attention. I’m here. I’ve been here all day," said Lopez, who is averaging 23.7 points on 64.1 percent shooting in his last three games against Washington. "I like it here. I’ve been here my whole career.
"I’m kind of partial to it now. I’ve been on the block for like 6 1/2 years now. It’s no big deal."
Jack, filling in as Deron Williams (ribs) prepares to miss his sixth straight game, joined in the second-half festivities with 19 of his points. The point guard had been limited to 11.6 points on 35.6 percent shooting with a 2-for-22 mark from 3-point range over the losing streak.
The 10-year veteran has averaged 14.7 points while starting the last 15 games, and his name also has come up in trade talks.
"I want to finish with the guys I started with," Jack said. "Clearly, that’s not up to me. It’s not my decision."
Joe Johnson’s struggles continued with a 2-for-11 night. The guard is averaging 13.8 points on 35.8 percent shooting in nine games in 2015, during which Brooklyn hasn’t won at the Barclays Center.
The Nets have dropped five straight at home, their longest such skid since losing six straight from Nov. 9-Dec. 5, 2013.