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Reeling Nets play the Wizards on deadline day

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Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Man, I don’t even know what’s going on.

The Long Island Brooklyn Nets had a national TV game against the Celtics, and all you need to know is they got down 28-2 to start the game. They lost by 35 points, and I think it’s safe to say everyone associated with the team and the people that care about the team are just exhausted. The squad has lost nine games in a row and it’s rough for everyone. It was an embarrassing night on all fronts.

The opponent tonight has been going through their own issues. The Washington Wizards have been dealing with a lot and first year head coach, Wes Unseld, Jr., is trying to get his squad back on the good foot. They’ve been off since Monday after losing to the Miami Heat in DC.

Where to follow the game

YES Network and TNT on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 7:30.

Injuries

LaMarcus Aldridge is out. Joe Harris is out. Nic Claxton is listed as questionable. James Harden is out again. Kevin Durant is out, but he’s traveling with the team the next two games. Hopefully having the big guy around will bring some much needed good vibes to a reeling ballclub.

Bradley Beal will be undergoing surgery to repair an injured left wrist and will miss the remainder of this season. Beal saw his numbers fall across the board and finished his 2021-2022 campaign averaging 23 points and six assists a night on a .451/.300/.833 shooting split. Daniel Gafford is in health and safety protocols.

The game

Brooklyn took the first game in October and the second one in January. They wrap up the season series next week in Brooklyn.

By the time you read this, the Brooklyn Nets as you know them may be completely different. The Nets and Philadelphia 76ers appear to be either in serious discussions around a Harden for Ben Simmons + others trade, or it’s all a bunch of hot air. Buckle up.

One interesting thing the Nets did on Tuesday night was they did a lot more trapping than we’re used to. It didn’t work, but it will be interesting to see if Steve Nash and the coaching staff tries it again in the future. To execute a scheme like that, the lineups need to have a rhythm and understanding of each other. The Nets don’t have that luxury right now, so the experimentation will continue.

Without Beal, it looks as if Spencer Dinwiddie will run the show full time. It’s been a rough year for our old pal as he’s struggled on the court and in the locker room. This time period should be enough for Din to regain his bearings and figure out how he will be most effective in his new home. He was always most effective driving downhill and not settling for stepback three pointers, so the Wiz hope he gets back to his old ways the further away he is from the 2020 knee surgery.

Beal’s struggles from deep mirrored his teammates’ woes. On the year, the Wiz are shooting 32.2 percent from three point range, third lowest in the NBA. The Nets wound up letting the Celtics take a ton of open threes, so if they do that tonight, even a team struggling from deep will cash in if given too many opportunities.

The Washington Mystics will be looking incredibly different in 2022. Emma Messeman left for the Chicago Sky and Tina Charles is going to the Phoenix Mercury. Elena Delle Donne hopes to be back as she has missed the past two seasons with a back injury. As WNBA free agency rolls on, we’ll see how the New York Liberty and everybody else build their rosters from here.

When a team underachieves like the Wizards have, a lot of blame gets assigned. Over at Bullets Forever, Marcus Atkinson took a look at the team and said:

A lot of the blame is being set on the players and Wes Unseld Jr, and certainly, each deserves their share of the blame. But the organization as a whole seems lost. Perhaps, Wes Unseld, Jr. is being exposed as having challenges managing locker room personalities, but these are things that could be aided by an organization that has higher standards and true accountability.

Players bickering in the media, having visible disagreements on the court, while losing winnable games, or looking completely outmatched in some of the most recent games, is a reflection on the organization as a whole. It shows a lack of chemistry, a lack of direction and an unwillingness to commit to a singular goal that everyone buys into.

The Nets should look to take it to the cup as often as humanly possible. Washington allows teams to shoot 68.2 percent inside the restricted area, second highest mark in the NBA this season. And with Gafford out, the Wiz have even less rim protection available to them. With the way the Nets are constructed currently, offense will be hard to come by.

Patty Mills has been having a great season, and he was rewarded with a trip to Cleveland to take part in the Three Point Contest during All Star Weekend! It’s a great honor and for a player that has stepped up under difficult circumstances, a welcome reward. Shouts to him.

Player to watch: Kyle Kuzma

Of all the Wizards players, Kuz has probably been the best one. He works hard on the boards, gives you good defense in the front, and is someone that has finally gotten a consistent role.

Kyrie Irving is back, and there’s renewed optimism city COVID-19 mandates will end and thus allow him to return to playing home games at Barclays. There’s a lesson to be learned here about putting your fate in someone else's hands, but that’s for a later date.

In the meantime, Irving is hoping to regain his shooting touch. He’s been under 40 percent from the field in each of the last three games, and when your shot really isn’t there, you can try to make up for it by driving to the basket. Difficult thing for Irving right now is he’s the Nets’ main offensive weapon, so defenses can load up on him more than usual.

From the Vault

Get hip to Betty Davis!

More reading: Bullets Forever