Washington (10-13) at Brooklyn (9-15)
December 18, 2013 at 7:30 PM
Barclay’s Center, Brooklyn, NY
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Marcin Gortat, PF- Nene, SF- Trevor Ariza, SG- Bradley Beal, PG- John Wall
C – Brook Lopez (questionable but expects to play), PF- Kevin Garnett, SF- Paul Pierce, SG- Joe Johnson, PG- Deron Williams
Nene v. Kevin Garnett
If Wizards fans are into the kinky idea that “pain is pleasure,” then consider Nene a thorn in our side. The Wizards are 3-24 in games that Nene doesn’t play since the start of last season. In exception of Bradley Beal’s return this past week that sparked a win for the Wizards, the Wiz kids are 0-6 this season without Nene. Based on that stat and common sense, its clear the Wizards need Nene. However, the reasons he has missed those games just make Wizards fans blood boil. You can watch a whole game with Nene and he looks fine up until the final buzzer. Then the next day you find out he has chicken pox, or he stubbed his toe on the corner of his bed spring and is out for the remainder of his contract.
If I had one game to use as a microcosm of Nene’s positive impact, it would have to be the last Nets game. He forced Garnett into 2-for-11 shooting from the field, and physically worked him on offense. Nene scored 12 of his 20 points in the final 4:30 of the game, including hitting the game-tying putback that sent it to OT. Since that general space of time, Nene has been injury-riddled and borderline uninspiring.
You look back on plays like this however and realize what he can bring to this team…
DO I HAVE TO PICK ONE? Let’s just look at all of the scenarios in this game…and granted this could have been included in the closing portion but I just couldn’t wait.
The Nets have been up and down this season just as much as the Wizards.
Bench play. The Wizards bench is still extremely underwhelming, and that was magnified in games when they were missing their upper echelon guys, namely Bradley Beal, Nene, and Martell Webster. Now that Bradley Beal and Martell are back and playing well, and Nene is set to make his entry back into the starting lineup, it will be interesting to see how Wittman pieces it all back together. Most of these guys have played just as many minutes without each other and in scattered lineups that it will be interesting to note how they react to playing in the same lineups that began their season (an unsuccessful beginning at that).
3-point shooting. It often makes or breaks the Wizards chances in games and the Nets are coming off shooting 56.9% beyond the arc in their last two games without Lopez. Apparently, his departure from the team due to injury helped their spacing. He will be back in the lineup so let’s see how the Nets offense tries to reinforce their dominance from downtown. The Nets hit a franchise-record 21 3’s in their last game, 10 of them from Joe Johnson, 8 of them coming in the 3rd quarter alone. Another barrage like that from the Nets and this game could be over quick.