Friday, June 21, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

NBA Preview: Brooklyn Nets (27-45 at Washington Wizards (14-58)

In 18 games coaching the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Ollie often has preached about the defensive energy and effort needed to get wins.

With 10 games remaining, Ollie is hoping to see some of the same things he witnessed Monday in a 96-88 win over the Toronto Raptors.

The Nets will get their next chance to impress their interim coach Wednesday night when they visit the Washington Wizards, who are seeking a season-high fourth straight win.

Brooklyn (27-45) is 6-12 since Ollie ascended to his first NBA head coaching job when Jacque Vaughn was fired last month. Seven of those losses were by double digits, including three during a six-game skid the Nets endured before allowing their second-fewest points of the season on Monday.

Brooklyn was especially effective in the fourth quarter when it allowed 19 points two days after allowing a 12-0 run in the fourth of a 105-93 loss to the New York Knicks.

The Nets are 3-9 since earning consecutive wins over the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 29 and March 2. Those wins put them 2 1/2 games behind the 10th-place Hawks for the final play-in spot in the East and now they are 5 1/2 games out.

The Nets won in Toronto with a short-handed lineup. Cam Thomas missed the game with back spasms and could be out again, Cameron Johnson sat out with a sprained right big toe that is expected to keep him out Wednesday, and reserve Dennis Smith Jr. is day-to-day with a sore right hip.

Dennis Schroder and Trendon Watford scored 19 points apiece while Nic Claxton added 16 rebounds. Mikal Bridges added 13 points and said he rolled his ankle but is not expected to be out Wednesday.

The Wizards (14-58) are on their first three-game winning streak since winning six straight from Jan. 18-30, 2023. Washington also is a respectable 5-5 in its past 10 games since dropping 16 straight from Jan. 31 to March 6.

Washington allowed 127.6 points per game during its five-game skid that preceded wins over the Sacramento Kings, Raptors and Chicago Bulls. Washington’s three wins were decided by a combined 12 points and the Wizards earned a 107-105 win in Chicago Monday when they led by 14 through the opening quarter and survived nearly blowing a seven-point lead down the stretch.

Jordan Poole led the Wizards with 23 points and Kispert added 19 and 12 rebounds. Marvin Bagley II added 16 and Jared Butler handed out 13 assists in a game where the Wizards withstood shooting 31 percent (9 of 29) in the fourth quarter and 40.2 percent overall along with the absence of Kyle Kuzma due to a sore left shoulder.

The Nets are 6-1 in the past seven meetings.

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