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Brooklyn Nets vs. Washington Wizards preview: Nets look to bounce back at home

The Nets have a chance of getting back to .500

Boston Celtics v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

So much for going undefeated in Cup play. The Brooklyn Nets were in it for a while, but the Boston Celtics were way too good and wound up overwhelming the Nets on Friday night.

The opponent tonight is looking to get back in the winning column as well. The Washington Wizards lost their inaugural Tournament game to the Charlotte Hornets 124-117 on Friday night in DC.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip after 3 PM.


Nic Claxton is back. After missing seven games with a high ankle sprain, he is available. Cam Thomas remains out. Ben Simmons has been bothered by a sore left hip all week and has been out the past two games. He’s out again. The Nets added details to Simmons status, saying he has left hip contusions. That’s just a clarification, no new issues.

For the Wizards, point guard Delon Wright is out with a left knee sprain.

The game

It’s the Kids Game at the ‘clays! All the little ones at the game will have events and fun filled activities geared towards them.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma had one of the more random beefs you could imagine, and this is their first time being on the same court since last January when Dinwiddie was a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Since then, they’ve spent a lot of time chirping at each other online. It should make for fun jokes on the commentary, but don’t expect any fireworks or anything like that. It’s the NBA, we don’t do that around here!

For Dinwiddie, he’s going to have to get downhill in the halfcourt if the Nets want to make anything work on offense. As Collin Helwig noted in his Takeaways piece:

“The only memory I have of Dinwiddie driving to the hole last night came during the second quarter where he was whistled for an offensive foul after grabbing Porzingis’ jersey to elevate past him. That would draw a flag even on a football field. When you’re committing would-be penalties in full-contact sport in a non-contact one — that’s as obvious of a “no no” as it gets.

I keep putting the blame on Dinwiddie here only because of how well he did probing inside last year, but he’s not at fault alone...”

The Nets have plenty of work to do.

Cam Johnson is back, and he gave the team some success from three point range. CJ went 3-6 from three point range, but acknowledged that he can be better, especially on the defensive end. His size and versatility is a welcome benefit for a Nets team that is looking for some juice in the halfcourt.

The Wizards defense has been pretty, pretty bad to start this season. They are allowing 119.8 points per 100 possessions, second worst in the NBA. As Cem Yolbulan noted at Wiz of Awes:

“It is safe to say that Washington will likely finish with the worst defensive rating in the history of the NBA. However, they still need to do much better on that end. They need to compete better defensively because they aren’t going to win games with their overall talent. If they don’t put up more of a fight, considering the overall talent level of this team, there is a chance they might be remembered among these infamous teams in history.”

Sheesh. If you can’t defend, you can’t build anything.

If all else fails, Lonnie Walker IV will look to provide some scoring punch off the bench. Walker has scored in double digits in every game this season and his ability to get downhill as well as create his own shot helps the Nets pick up the slack now that Thomas is out.

Player to watch: Jordan Poole

Sometimes you need to start over. Getting out of an environment that no longer serves you and moving to somewhere new helps in the short and long term. That’s where Jordan Poole found himself after his trade from the Golden State Warriors to the Wizards over the summer. Recently, Poole spoke to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports about some of his journey and said:

“Obviously, I wanted to be in a position to have my own team, and then if it did come, how would I go about that? Luckily, I’m able to do that so young, after learning from some of the best. It’s cool. It’s a smooth transition. We’re building everything from scratch, essentially. Building up a new foundation. Everything in Golden State was already established, so we kinda had to fit into the mold that they have there.”

Hey if you can build something new and it works out, more power to you! In the mean time, Poole will look to put a good performance on the board. He’s averaged 17 points on .417/.308/.800 shooting splits this season. When Poole is dialed in, he can heat up in a hurry. When he’s not, it can be an ugly, ugly sight. As he continues on his career path, he’s going to need to be more consistent than he has been so far in DC.

Mikal Bridges will need to do more for the Nets if they want to win. Against Boston, he only went 4-11 from the field with only one assist in 27 minutes. When various players are down, you need other people to step up in a major way. For Bridges, he’ll need to score more. We’ve seen him do it before. The Nets will need him to do it again.

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More reading: Bullets Forever, SB Nation NBA, Nets Republic, Wiz of Awes