Wizards-Nets Preview

After a 5-14 start, the Brooklyn Nets are beginning to find ways

to win, even as key injuries continue to throw their starting five

into question.

Hoping to have leading scorer Brook Lopez back, they’ll go for

their fifth win in six games Wednesday night when they host the

Washington Wizards, who have been trending in the other

direction.

The Nets (9-15) didn’t need Lopez, who missed his second

straight game with a sprained left ankle, in a 130-94 home win over

Philadelphia on Monday.

Joe Johnson was more than enough. Johnson made 10 of his 14

3-point attempts, including eight in the third to tie an NBA record

for most 3s in a quarter. He scored a season-high 37 points, 29 of

which came in the third.

“It was just a good feeling,” Johnson told the team’s official

website. “It seems you catch the ball with the seams every time and

it’s right. Every time it comes out of your hand, it’s going in. I

can’t really explain it.”

He came in fighting an illness and sat out the fourth quarter,

electing not to chase the NBA’s single-game record of 12 3-pointers

when coach Jason Kidd gave him the option.

“It was a special performance,” Kidd said. “Especially being

sick.”

Brooklyn hit a franchise-record 21 3s and has made 33 while

shooting 56.9 percent from beyond the arc in the two games without

Lopez.

Lopez is averaging a career-best 20.5 points this season, though

he’s already missed nine games due to injury.

The Nets have had point guard Deron Williams back for four games

after he missed 11 of 12 with an ankle injury of his own. He had a

strong game with 13 points and 13 assists against the 76ers, but

seemed a bit hung up on Johnson’s performance.

“He had 29 in a quarter?” Williams said. “Oh, my God.”

Williams is averaging 18.8 points in his return after managing

9.3 on 40.5 percent shooting in his first nine.

The Nets also seem to be figuring things out on the other end of

the court, where they’ve held opponents to 42.2 percent shooting

and 93.6 points in the last five games after allowing 103.4 through

their first 19.

They’ve won three straight at home after dropping six in a row

at the Barclays Center.

Washington (10-13), meanwhile, has lost four of five, though it

snapped a four-game skid with Monday’s 102-101 win at New York.

Bradley Beal scored the team’s final seven points and hit a

driving layup in the closing seconds to secure the win.

“It’s a great overall win for us,” he said. “We haven’t won (at

Madison Square Garden) since 2006. That’s a big accomplishment for

us how we stuck through adversity. As a team, everybody stepped

up.”

Martell Webster certainly did with a season-high 30 points on

6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.

The Wizards had one of their best overall 3-point shooting

nights of the season against the Knicks, hitting 11 of 18. They

connected on 25.3 percent in the four losses preceding the win and

have lived and died on the 3 all season. Washington is 7-1 when

shooting over 40.0 percent from long range and 3-12 when it

doesn’t.

The Wizards beat a healthy Nets team 112-108 in overtime on Nov.

8 in Washington.

Brooklyn won three of four last season and has won three

straight at home in the series.