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Trade rumors swirl as Nets face Wizards

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"I keep it playa while some choose to play it safe"
"I keep it playa while some choose to play it safe"
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Unlucky seven. Things are still going south for the Brooklyn Nets and they lost their seventh consecutive game, this time a 103-92 decision to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Nets are still in playoff position, but the Charlotte Hornets have been gaining ground on them. This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Nets. They'll be back in Brooklyn on Saturday night.

Waiting for the slumping Nets will be the Southeast Division leading Washington Wizards. It's been a fantastic season for the Wiz and they find themselves in the second position in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They've won five out of their last six games, including Wednesday's national TV affair in Chicago. The only loss during this stretch? A 31 point demolition at the hands of the conference leading Atlanta Hawks.

Where to follow the game

YES Network for TV and WFAN 101.9 FM for radio. Tip off is set for a shade after 7:00 PM.

Injuries

Deron Williams is still out, but will be reevaluated next week and might be back soon.

Nothing listed for the Wiz.

The game

What's happening with these clubs? Let's check it out

2014-2015 Season

Brooklyn Washington

Record

16-23 27-12

Pace

94.32 95.56

Offensive Efficiency

99.6 104.2

Defensive Efficiency

103.1 100.6

Turnover Rate

15.5 15.3

Assist Rate

16.4 19

Offensive Rebounding Rate

22.8 25.1

Rebounding Rate

49 51.5

Free Throw Rate

26.8 26

Effective Field Goal Percentage

48.8 51.1

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.5 48.9

We'll probably see Kevin Garnett tonight. KG was suspended for Wednesday's game against Memphis after headbutting Dwight Howard on Monday. He doesn't play back-to-backs anymore so if he does play this game, he won't play on Saturday night.

On the trade front, it looks as if the Nets are increasing their efforts to move one of their big three. There are reports that the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder are all interested in Brook Lopez. Nothing has been made official as of this writing, but watch this space.

Having Garnett back should help against the Wizards' tag team of Nene and Marcin Gortat. The duo is imposing on the inside defensively and fit beautifully into Washington's offense. They can score on the inside and extend out to 18+ feet with their jump shots. Mason Plumlee will be relieved to get away from Zach Randolph. He played well and had some highlights but Z-Bo made all eight of his shots inside the paint.

Paul Pierce had a decent season with Brooklyn last year, but the team didn't want him back and as a result, he joined with the upstart Wizards. Pierce has been having a nice season in his decreased role and made some history on Wednesday. He passed Jason Kidd for fourth all time in three point field goals made. Being on a team that has young players like John Wall and Bradley Beal is great for Pierce as he doesn't have to be the lead or even second option on offense and he can instill some knowledge. On the other side stands Joe Johnson. With Williams out and Lopez seemingly headed out of town, it's up to him to carry the offense. Unfortunately for the Nets, he hasn't been able to do so. Johnson is certainly playing hard out there, but hasn't played well at all in the 2015 portion of the schedule. He's only shot 50 percent from the field once in eight games this month.

Player to watch: John Wall

It's the fourth year and Wall has grown into one of the league's best players. The book on Wall was to prevent the drive and force him into shooting jumpers. That strategy hasn't been working well for opponents this season as Wall is shooting a career high 46.3 percent from the field, thanks in large part to his 48 percent from 10-16 feet. He can still get to the rim at will, but that versatility in his offense makes him even more difficult to cover.

Along with Lopez, Jarrett Jack would be getting traded as well. With all of the rumors surrounding him, I'd be surprised if he played. Assuming he sits, recently acquired Darius Morris will have the unenviable task of trying to guard Wall. With Beal and Rasual Butler on the wings, doubling Wall as he gets to the rim could prove to be fatal for Brooklyn.

From the Vault

We're a few weeks away from the All Star Game. With that in mind, head back to the 1996-1997 season and check out two All Stars in action, Seattle's Shawn Kemp and Washington's Chris Webber.

More reading: Bullets Forever