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Nets host Wizards to close out 2015 at Barclays Center

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Close, but not close enough. The Nets came back from a big halftime deficit, but ultimately fell short by one point to the Dallas Mavericks in overtime at home on Wednesday night. For the Nets, it was their fifth straight loss at home. This is their last game in Barclays Center for 2015 as they'll be on the road to ring in the new year.

Coming into town for this post Christmas contest will be the Washington Wizards. Coming into the year, the Wiz were expected to compete for the Southeast Division crown and go deep in the playoffs. Unfortunately, things haven't gone well and they find themselves below .500. They have won their last three games, including Wednesday's contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV (unless you're one of 900,000 sightless Comcast customers) with WFAN 101.9 FM on the radio. The game's in the afternoon so tip off will be after 4 PM.

Injuries

Rondae Hollis Jefferson is still on the mend following ankle surgery earlier this month.

Bradley Beal has missed the past six games due to a stress reaction in his lower right fibula. He's out today, but will be reevaluated at some point today to determine when he might return. Alan Anderson has yet to appear in a game for the Wiz this season thanks to an ankle injury he suffered in preseason. Otto Porter didn't play against the Grizz due to a thigh injury. Drew Gooden's been dealing with a calf injury recently and didn't play on Wednesday.

The game

Let's get into it

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Washington

Record

8-21 13-14

Pace

97.98 100.46

Offensive Efficiency

98.1 101.4

Defensive Efficiency

104.5 104.5

Turnover Rate

15.3 15.5

Assist Rate

16.4 17.5

Offensive Rebounding Rate

24.4 20.4

Rebound Rate

50.6 47.9

Free Throw Rate

22.1 28.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

47.8 50.4

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.2 52.3

Bojan Bogdanovic was having his best game of the year on Wednesday, but curiously found himself on the bench for most of the fourth quarter and overtime. When asked about it, Lionel Hollins gave a long non-answer that didn't clear anything up. For a team that isn't going anywhere, a player like Bogdanovic should see as many fourth quarter minutes as possible against good teams. In addition to being the team's second best scorer, he's someone the Nets will be counting on for the foreseeable future. Benching him seems counterproductive and how many minutes he plays tonight will be something to keep an eye on.

One change for Washington this season as compared to previous ones is the pace at which they play. After being in the middle of the pack in pace during Randy Wittman's first three full seasons as head coach (he took over 17 games in to the lockout shortened season back in 2012), the Wiz are fifth in that category this year, averaging around 100 possessions a night. For Brooklyn, they want to slow the game down and keep the turnovers to a minimum. The Wiz are seventh in the league in points off of turnovers, collecting 18 of them a night.

Along with the increase in pace came a change at power forward. Throughout the regular season last year, Wittman didn't consistently utilize Paul Pierce at the four despite it being successful more times than not. He broke it out during the postseason and it helped the Wiz sweep the Raptors and give the Hawks a fight in the Conference Semifinals. Over at Bullets Forever, Akbar Naqvi made the case for why Jared Dudley should be starting over our old friend Kris Humphries:

While Humphries is actually shooting well from beyond the arc this season, teams just do not respect him in the same way that they do with Dudley. Playing small is not just about making threes, you also have to have players who are credible threats off-the-dribble so defenders have a difficult choice of whether to stick to them or leave them open. Defenses are not really afraid of Humphries with the ball in his hands, and it's been a primary reason for the turnover problems this season. Passing windows so much smaller with him on the floor, because teams don't have to worry about him if they can force him off the perimeter. Dudley is more adept at making plays when teams chase him off the three-point line, and he will get even better as he gets in shape over the course of the season. The team will definitely take a step back in rebounding with Dudley on the floor instead of Humphries, but the team will have to sacrifice something with every lineup they trot out.

Dudley's been starting since November 28th and during the Wizards' current three game winning streak, is shooting 68 percent from the field and has made seven three pointers as well. He'll be matched up with Thaddeus Young. Young is coming off of a terrific game against Dallas and is having the best year of his career. For Young, chasing Dudley off the three point line will be essential. Dudley is one of the best three point shooters in the league this year, making 48.7 percent of his shots from downtown. Brooklyn's three point defense has been porous all year, and if they fall asleep, they're gonna be out of this game early/

Player to watch: John Wall

He started the year off pretty slowly, but John Wall has more than made up for it this month. In 13 December games, Wall is averaging almost 23 points and 12 assists a night while shooting 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from three point range. Wall's jump shot is better than it's given credit for, he's still at his best when he's driving to the basket. He's made 66.7 percent of his shots inside the restricted area this month, and when teams go to help when he drives, it creates great looks for his teammates from downtown.

Having Shane Larkin back is a nice positive for Brooklyn. He made his return following a concussion on Wednesday by playing 24 effective minutes and handing out four assists. He and Jarrett Jack will be handling the majority of PG duties for the Nets this afternoon. Jack took the final shot of the game against Dallas, and it was a bit of a mess. Generally speaking, the Nets are better off when the shots are going to other players instead of Jack. When Jack is taking long two pointers early in the shot clock, it throws everything off for the Nets. When the majority of the shots are going for Brook Lopez, the Nets are a lot more effective.

From the Vault

One more from D-Will.

More reading: Bullets Forever