After a 5-14 start, the Brooklyn Nets are beginning to find ways to win, even as key injuries continue to throw their starting five into question.
The Nets (9-15) didn't need Lopez, who missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, in a 130-94 home win over Philadelphia on Monday.
Joe Johnson was more than enough. Johnson made 10 of his 14 3-point attempts, including eight in the third to tie an NBA record for most 3s in a quarter. He scored a season-high 37 points, 29 of which came in the third.
"It was just a good feeling," Johnson told the team's official website. "It seems you catch the ball with the seams every time and it's right. Every time it comes out of your hand, it's going in. I can't really explain it."
He came in fighting an illness and sat out the fourth quarter, electing not to chase the NBA's single-game record of 12 3-pointers when coach Jason Kidd gave him the option.
"It was a special performance," Kidd said. "Especially being sick."
Brooklyn hit a franchise-record 21 3s and has made 33 while shooting 56.9 percent from beyond the arc in the two games without Lopez.
Lopez is averaging a career-best 20.5 points this season, though he's already missed nine games due to injury.
The Nets have had point guard Deron Williams back for four games after he missed 11 of 12 with an ankle injury of his own. He had a strong game with 13 points and 13 assists against the 76ers, but seemed a bit hung up on Johnson's performance.
"He had 29 in a quarter?" Williams said. "Oh, my God."
Williams is averaging 18.8 points in his return after managing 9.3 on 40.5 percent shooting in his first nine.
The Nets also seem to be figuring things out on the other end of the court, where they've held opponents to 42.2 percent shooting and 93.6 points in the last five games after allowing 103.4 through their first 19.
They've won three straight at home after dropping six in a row at the Barclays Center.
Washington (10-13), meanwhile, has lost four of five, though it snapped a four-game skid with Monday's 102-101 win at New York.
Bradley Beal scored the team's final seven points and hit a driving layup in the closing seconds to secure the win.
"It's a great overall win for us," he said. "We haven't won (at Madison Square Garden) since 2006. That's a big accomplishment for us how we stuck through adversity. As a team, everybody stepped up."
Martell Webster certainly did with a season-high 30 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Wizards had one of their best overall 3-point shooting nights of the season against the Knicks, hitting 11 of 18. They connected on 25.3 percent in the four losses preceding the win and have lived and died on the 3 all season. Washington is 7-1 when shooting over 40.0 percent from long range and 3-12 when it doesn't.
The Wizards beat a healthy Nets team 112-108 in overtime on Nov. 8 in Washington.
Brooklyn won three of four last season and has won three straight at home in the series.
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- Brooklyn Nets
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- Brook Lopez
- Deron Williams