Entering the game, John Wall’s availability had been in doubt because of a migraine headache. Friday, he gave the Brooklyn Nets one as the Wizards swept the season series to move a step closer to officially clinching their third playoff berth in four seasons.
Wall (22 points, nine assists, four rebounds) exited with exactly two minutes left in the third quarter with them up 89-73 and didn’t return in a 129-108 victory.
Bradley Beal (19 points), Ian Mahinmi (16 points, seven rebounds), Brandon Jennings (18 points, nine assists) and Bojan Bogdanovic (17 points) also reached double figures in a game in which coach Scott Brooks was able to cut the minutes of all of his starters.
Jeremy Lin (14 points) got Brooklyn out to a fast start for a 13-4 lead after a jumper from Brook Lopez (six points) but that advantage was eroded quickly. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (19 points) led them in scoring.
The Wizards (44-28) last trailed 21-20 in the first quarter and then went on a 30-8 run as Brooklyn (15-57) shot just 16 of 42, or 38.1%, in the first half.
The Wizards led by as many as 28 points in the first half and emptied their bench by the start of the fourth quarter.
--Mahinmi’s defense vs. Lopez, who can spread the floor to the three-point arc, took the pressure off Marcin Gortat (eight points, nine rebounds). He’s more comfortable defending away from the rim and was able to force Lopez into turnovers by timing his sweepthrough move with the ball and not foul. Mahinmi had four steals through three quarters. He had a career-high seven recently vs. the Phoenix Suns.
--The defensive slippage showed itself again in the third for Washington. The Nets shot 16 of 22 from the field, or 72.7%, and scored 39 points led by Hollis-Jefferson’s 13 points. He made 6 of 7 shots and Isaiah Whitehead (10 points) was 3-for-3. Fortunately for the Wizards, they scored 34 to reduce the impact and made 14 of 25 shots, or 56%.
--Wall and Beal each played just 24 minutes, the most of any starter. Otto Porter (five points) logged 21 minutes followed by Markieff Morris (five points) with 20 and Gortat’s 18 minutes. With a game Saturday at the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were in a tough battle with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.
--This was Bogdanovic’s first game against his old team after he was sent to Washington at the trade deadline. But the Wizards also saw Andrew Nicholson (six points) for the first time. He was included in the deal and wasn’t in the rotation anymore and only played during garbage time for Brooklyn. He made his first two shots.
--Kelly Oubre (nine points) continued his rise and appears to be out of his late-season slump. He harassed Lin early and helped set a better defensive tone. He also had a highlight-reel dunk off a feed from Jennings late in the fourth to punctuate it. He’ll likely see some time on Kyrie Irving on Saturday.
--The Wizards have 29 home wins which is the most in the East. Their next five games, however, are on the road.