Toko, Mirza and the Nets' reserves drop the Wizards, 106-101

Bruce Bennett

BROOKLYN - As P.J. Carlesimo spoke with the media prior to tonight's game, he made it clear that his intention was to give his core players some rest because, well, win or lose they couldn't go "up or down" in the standings.

No Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans, Reggie Evans or Jerry Stackhouse. The only starter in the lineup was Gerald Wallace, who was coming off a two game absence with a heel contusion. Wallace played 22 minutes, scoring two points.

But it was all about Tornike Shengelia and Mirza Teletovic, who took over in the fourth quarter and combined to score 25 points, helping the Nets to a ... victory over the Wizards.

Welcome to mid-April "meaningless" basketball. Which, in this case, is actually a good thing, seeing as the Nets are readying themselves for the playoffs, starting this weekend. The second half, though, of this game was about as exciting as its been in a while. Meaningless? Yes. Inspired? Yes.

The Wizards, as they so often are, were led by John Wall, who made C.J. Watson work early and often.

The game was ugly early for the Nets, who shot 50 percent from the floor to the Wizards' 70-percent showing in the first quarter and found themselves down 34-21 after one. They played no defense at all. Brooks, Blatche and Humphries scored 18 of the team's 21 points in the first.

Washington got some nice distance early, and really wasn't challenged by the Nets. They carried a lead throughout the first half, with all nine Wizards getting on the scoreboard on a balanced attack.

At halftime, the Nets trailed 56-50. The biggest story, however, was Gerald Wallace who in the first half had just one rebound and zero shot attempts. You have to think the Nets were hoping he'd use this opportunity to get into a bit of a rhythm.

In the second half the Nets were simply looking to extend minutes for some of their key role players and also see if they can get Wallace more involved -- meaning, get his confidence back up to where it needs to be.

The Nets hung in for most of the second half, taking the lead at the 4:55-mark, before giving it right back up. The game went back-and-forth a little, before Toko and Mirza "took over." On both sides of the floor the bigs were active and making, in a sense, plays. Same went for Tyshawn Taylor who had the "dagger" late in the fourth, with a long-three to put the game away.

Kris Humphries had a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, while Shengelia finished with a double-double, with career highs in points, 11, and rebounds, also 11. Andray Blatche went for 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Brooklyn will close out the season on Wednesday against the Pistons.

For more on the Wizards, see: Bullets Forever

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