Behind a complete team effort and a dramatic game-ending block by Dzanan Musa, the Nets improved to 2-1 in Las Vegas as they defeated the Wizards, 88-85.
With Jarrett Allen sitting out the back-to back (rest), the Nets were forced to rely on (even) younger players - even some non-roster players.
Despite being shorthanded, the team again turned up the effort level in the second half. Down seven at the half, the Nets outscored Washington 34-22 in the third quarter to take a 67-62 lead heading into the fourth. After splitting a pair of free throws in the final seconds to give the Nets just a three-point lead, Dzanan Musa came up with a big block at the buzzer to preserve a Brooklyn victory.
AT THE BUZZER #GLeagueAlum Dzanan Musa (@DzMusa) comes away with the GAME-SAVING SWAT for the @BrooklynNets ️— NBA G League (@nbagleague) July 9, 2019
Musa averaged 19.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG & 3.8 APG with the @LongIslandNets during his rookie season and helped lead the team to the 2019 #GLeagueFinals! pic.twitter.com/nJfGk1gvsb
With Allen out, others stepped up in his absence, namely, Nic Claxton. Claxton continues to improve with each game, registering 12 points, seven rebounds, and a block on perfect 6-of-6 shooting in the win. Claxton displayed his versatility all game. On one play, Claxton blocked the ball at the rim, secured the rebound, then took it coast-to-coast for the tough, contested layup.
Getting it done on both ends @_claxton33 pic.twitter.com/aCsLkdWXnV— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) July 8, 2019
Despite having a thin frame —215 pounds on a near 7-foot, Claxton often is the aggressor at the rim, allowing him to be successful on both ends of the floor.
While Musa, Rodions Kurucs, and Theo Pinson combined for just 24 points, the story was the non-roster players that came to play. Josh Gray had another strong performance with 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Amida Brimah, who got the start for Allen, showed out to the tune of 14 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
During the broadcast, NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg caught up with Caris LeVert, who was in the arena supporting the squad.
On what the signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has been like, LeVert kept it succinct, telling Greenberg, “It’s been fun… it’s a huge step forward.”
LeVert also pulled the curtain back a bit on what the communication with Durant and Irving has been like. He said, “Just trying to get better… Lot of smack talk about 1-on-1. We can’t wait to get going.”
Greenberg followed that up with another question, asking LeVert who he thinks is the best 1-on-1 player on the Nets. “Of course I’m going to say myself,” he said.
LeVert added that he hopes to play 1-on-1 with Kyrie Irving as much as possible leading up to the season. “Everyday. We’ll play every single day.”
Joe Harris joined LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince courtside in Vegas. Nets media had an opportunity to catch up with Harris. On his new/ex-teammate Kyrie Irving, Harris said, “Kyrie’s got a big personality. He’s one of these guys that’s misunderstood. The way that he’s construed in the media is probably going to paint him in a light that is not necessarily true.”
Harris continued to reflect on his Cleveland days, saying, “I had a lot of good times with (Kyrie). He’s a lot of fun to be around whether it’s hanging out, playing video games, grabbing a drink, whatever it might be.”
The Nets will be back in action, looking to make it three in a row, on Wednesday when they play the Magic at 5:30 p.m., this one on ESPNU.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 88, Washington Wizards 85 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Brooklyn Nets 88, Washington Wizards 85 (Video) - NBA.com
- Game Recap: Nets 88, Wizards 85 - Zak Hanshew - RotoWire