Sometimes the greatest hits pop up at the worst time. Monday was almost a perfect encapsulation of the Brooklyn Nets' season. Jump out to a big lead, let it slip away, fight down to the wire, and lose. This time, the Orlando Magic did the honors and handed the Nets a brutal loss. Such is life.
The opponent tonight will be the Washington Wizards. It's been another lost campaign for the Wiz as they're out of the playoff picture once again and are looking ahead to next year. They lost in overtime at home to the league leading Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7 PM.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are out. WIison Chandler (personal) is questionable. Rodions Kurucs is back from Long Island.
Here’s your latest KD rehab video...
Kevin Durant’s injury recovery process continues now with pull-up jumpers pic.twitter.com/dJfSa3y9JH— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) February 25, 2020
“I think he attacks the rehab like he attacks his game,” Kenny Atkinson said. “One of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen, that’s behind the scenes. The resiliency, the stick-with-it mentality when you’re going through a rehab like that is impressive.”
Davis Bertans missed Monday's game with a knee injury. He's listed as day-to-day. John Wall is still out, of course.
The Wizards took game one earlier this month.
If you're trying to ensure you get into the playoffs, you can't give games away, ESPECIALLY against teams directly below you in the standings.
For much of the year, the Wiz looked like the worst defensive team in NBA history. However, they've turned it around some since the All Star break. Kevin Broom of Bullets Forever breaks it down:
While encouraging, five games isn’t a lot of information. The Wizards have defended better, but it remains unclear whether this is a change in form or a hot streak. Two of their five best defensive performances of the season have come since the trade deadline, but this is still a team that’s held opponents below their season average just 14 times in 54 games.
All progress is good progress, so if the Wiz keep making strides on that end, it'll be a nice ending to a tough year.
The Nets should own the glass tonight. Brooklyn is tied for eighth in the league in rebounds while the Wiz are dead last.
Conversely, the Wiz are one of the better teams at forcing turnovers while the Nets are one of the sloppiest teams in the NBA.
Player to watch: Bradley Beal
I'm not quite sure where to place Beal in the grand scheme of things as it relates to stars in the league. He's a walking bucket and has adjusted well to the chance to be the lead scoring option for the Wizards. Although his three point percentage is down for the third straight year, he's more than made up for it by getting to the foul line more often. It makes him one of the most difficult scorers in the league to cover.
However, the team's defense is hilariously bad when he's on the court. It's not fair to pin all of that on him, but sheesh, can we get a little bit of something there?
Caris Levert is the second option for the Nets, and with that comes the hope that he can keep things upright while Spencer Dinwiddie sits. It's been a bumpy year for the former Wolverine, but he has had his share of star making moments. Going up against Beal should be a great challenge for him.
From the Vault
Beal put up 50 points in back-to-back games, an incredibly rare and impressive feat in NBA history. One guy who did it before him? Kobe!
More reading: Bullets Forever
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Washington Wizards Game Notes - Washington Wizards
- Nets aim to stop Beal, Wizards - STATS/TSX
- Nets facing impossible task of stopping Bradley Beal - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets’ Kenny Atkinson not playing playoff-positioning game - Peter Botte - New York Post
- Nets will have to extinguish hot-shooting Bradley Beal - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Rehabbing Nets star Kevin Durant continues to attack his rehab, now shooting pull-up jumpers - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets tasked with defending Wizards’ Bradley Beal as they open four-game road trip - Mike Mazzeo - Newsday
- NETS VS. WIZARDS: BROOKLYN KNOWS PLAYOFF CHATTER IS HERE - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- BROOKLYN NETS HIT THE ROAD FOR FOUR-GAME SWING - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Bradley Beal is entering Kobe Bryant territory with his ‘monster’ month - Scott Allen - Washington Post