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Brooklyn Nets lose to Washington Wizards ... and fall back into sixth

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the third quarter, it looked like a Nets win. Brooklyn was up by seven and as everyone knows, that usually means the Nets win.  After all, they'd won 31 of 32 games when leading at the end of the third. The Wizards, on the other side of the ledger, were 0-11 at home when trailing after three.

Well, it didn't end that way. It didn't follow form. Trailing 82-72 early in the fourth, the Wizards went on a 15-4 run keyed by Drew Gooden (8 of 11 from the field) and Al Harrington.  Gooden is at the end of a 10-day deal and Harrington, long a Nets nemesis going back to his Knick days, is returning from an injury-riddled season and is uncertain how many minutes he can put on a rehabbing knee.

Harrington started things off when he scored four points and picked up a steal that led to a basket by Bradley Beal. Then with the Wizards trailing by three, Gooden hit a layup and then a jumper from the wing that gave Washington an 87-86 lead, its first of the half.

Thornton answered for New Jersey, making a three and following with a driving bank shot to put Brooklyn up 91-87 midway through the quarter. That was the last Nets field goal of the game, as they went without a made shot for the final 6:22.

"We just had a terrible offensive and defensive fourth quarter and we can't do that, especially with the playoffs looming around the corner," Paul Pierce said. "We've got to be more solid. We've got to be more consistent in everything we do."

Alan Anderson was equally despondent afterwards.

"Against a great team like Miami, we can sustain a whole 48 minutes of ball movement and defensive pressure and today, I think we let up a bit toward the end," Anderson said. "We've got to have that mentality, man. We've got to start putting teams away. We've only got what, three weeks left in the season."

Wall finished with 33 points on 10-of-15 shooting, often diving through the Nets defense for easy lay-ups and showing leadership skills as the Nets and Wizards swapped the lead late in the fourth.

Marcus Thornton, who had scored 10 points in his previous two games, finished with 19 on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-6 from deep. He had Brooklyn’s last field goal. Thornton is now averaging 12.0 points a game off the bench for the Nets despite his on-again, off-again scoring.

As Bleacher Report's Walker Harrison notes, "he has scored ten points or less six times, and 19 points or more on four occasions. Never has he finished between those two figures as a Net."

Deron Williams started off hot, with 10 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in the first quarter, then tailed off after a visit to the locker room at the beginning of the second quarter. He finished with 14 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, two steals.

Andrei Kirilenko, back after back spasms forced him to sit out two games, played 12 minutes, scoring five points but missing three of four foul shoots in the fourth.  He had two rebounds.  Mirza Teletovic played 14 minutes, missing both his shots, one a three-pointer.  Jason Collins, signed for the rest of the season, didn't play.

Overall, it was a bad game for the Nets who seemed rusty after spending their two off-days in the Florida sunshine rather than returning to New York.