Wake-up call: Even small dose of Nene is effective

Wake-up call: Even small dose of Nene is effective
December 19, 2013, 6:00 am
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Beal's 3, Wall's block rip the Nets

NEW YORK -- Nene doesn't have to play a starter's minutes to impact the outcome of a game. He came off the bench in his first action since Dec. 6 and only played 23 minutes in Wednesday's game at the Brooklyn Nets. His sore right foot and Achilles didn't appear to be a problem based on the results. 

Nene finished with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and got to the free-throw line seven times, making five. Seven of his points were scored in the fourth quarter, and he assisted on Bradley Beal's three-pointer with 1:08 left that gave the Wizards (11-13) a 106-100 lead. They won 113-107. 

"I told Nene, 'You don't have to play that many big minutes. Anytime you're out here, your presence is big for our team and it's exactly what we need,'" said John Wall, who led the Wizards with 21 points. 

Coach Randy Wittman was careful to limit his minutes. Nene had been suggesting since training camp he needed to scale back his minutes on some nights. The Wizards were able to close out the Nets as they made a run and were much more comfortable in half-court sets with Nene's ability to step out to the high post and pass or knock down the mid-range jump shot. 

“Everything. It’s just how he plays, his basketball IQ, his passing ability, the ability to score when he needs to — both from on the box, in the paint, to the 15-foot elbow jumper," Wittman said of why Nene is so valuable. "The calmness to be able to throw him the ball in certain situations coming down the stretch and play off him.”

Beal, who played in his second game since returning from a stress injury to his lower right leg, feels more comfortable sharing the floor with the Brazilian. 

"We just make eye contact. We've got secrets we have on the court. I play off him, he plays off me. It's a good duo we have whenever we're in the pick-and-roll or some type of handoff together," Beal said. "He's a great presence, scoring the ball, defending and rebounding as well and making big free throws down the stretch for us as well. We're glad to have him back."