The Wizards entered the fourth down by seven...and left up by seven as they dominated the fourth quarter in getting a 101-94 victory over the Nets in front of a sellout crowd at Verizon Center on Saturday night. The Nets entered the game 33-1 when leading after three quarters but couldn't hold the seven point lead as John Wall, Drew Gooden and the defense in general led the comeback. The defense held the Nets to just three points and without a field goal for the final 6:22 of the game. Drew Gooden seemingly couldn't miss, scoring 11 in the fourth quarter and John Wall put the finishing touches on this one with a monstrous dunk with under a minute to go.
John Wall's performance was a virtuoso one, as he scored 33 points on 10/15 shooting, dished out six assists and grabbed four boards. He also was 4/6 from three and 9/10 from the charity stripe. Drew Gooden had his best game as a Wizard, scoring a season-high 21 points and grabbing a season-high nine boards. Bradley Beal, who it looked like might not even play after his scary injury, not only played but started and scored 15 points. The Wizards scored 101 points, the first time the Nets had allowed over 100 since February.
For the Nets, Thornton led four in double figures with 19. Deron Williams was just 4/14 from the field but had 14 points, seven assists and seven boards.
The win moves the Wizards back over the Nets and into the five seed in the East. They now hit the west coast for four starting with Sacramento on Tuesday. - Jacob Raim
We close out the week back home at Verizon Center for what's being labeled as the biggest game of the year to date. It's been a while since the Wizards have played a game of this magnitude with playoff implications this late in the season, but tonight the 5 seed is on the line as the Nets are in town for what should be a thriller.
The Nets actually got into town yesterday and have been off since Wednesday, when they took down the Miami Heat in Miami. On the flip side, the Wizards played an overtime classic last night in Orlando and will have to turn around and gear up for this big battle less than 24 hours after winning their 18th road game of the season.
The Wizards dodged another bullet with Bradley Beal and he'll be back in the starting lineup tonight. Beal hurt himself late in the overtime frame last night and was carried off the court after turning an ankle. Martell Webster (back) will be a gametime decision, but is on the active roster so that's a good sign.
The Nets love to play "small ball", with four perimeter players on the court as once. This means the Wizards would like to counter with some of their small lineups, but if Beal and Webster are limited at all this could be more difficult. We could see more of Garrett Temple, Otto Porter, and Chris Singleton who would all be the likely candidates to fill in at the 2/3 spots on the roster.
The Nets have won three in a row and seven of eight and are starting to show everyone what kind of team we thought they would be coming into the season. They are playing Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston together, along with Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson on the wings, which makes them a very difficult team to matchup against. They lost Brook Lopez for the season to a foot injury and will again be without KG tonight, making them a little thin up front, so look for the Wizards to attack the Nets inside.
Depending on how the Wiz decide to match up with the Nets, we could see Trevor Booker open the game on Paul Pierce and while Booker is athletic enough to take Pierce, that's not the type of player he is normally guarding.
The Wizards are 2-0 this season against the Nets and have already won the season series, but tonight have a chance to sweep the Nets and send a message to the Eastern Conference.
We're chatting live from Verizon Center tonight at 7. We'll see you there.
Randy Wittman Pregame