Wizards complete sweep of New York teams

Joe Pantorno, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- As a team that has been waiting to hit the big shot all season, the Washington Wizards found their stroke in the Big Apple, sweeping a New York road trip with a 113-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
"It always feels good to get a win; it doesn't matter where it is," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I thought tonight was as good a game as we've played in a long time from start to finish."
Guard John Wall had 21 points and six assists to lead the Wizards (11-13) to their second straight win even though Nets forward Paul Pierce showed glimpses of his former self with a season-high 27 points off the bench.
"I am just starting to get things going after the start of the season," Pierce said. "My hand is feeling good; my groin is feeling good. (I'm) understanding the system and understanding my spots. That's about it."
The Nets (9-16) found themselves playing catchup most of the night, but they managed to do so effectively, having answers to many Wizards runs. Washington's leads were created off Wall's dynamic play, as his vision and speed left plenty of openings in Brooklyn's defense.
"We knew they were going to make a run," Wall said. "We stuck with ourselves though. We know that no team is ever out of it and we just stayed calm. We trusted our offense and moved the ball."
Down 10 with nine minutes left, the Nets tried to mount one more comeback and pulled within one on two occasions with less than three minutes remaining. A 3-pointer from guard Bradley Beal put the Wizards up by six with just over a minute remaining, putting the Nets away.
"We all know that it's a game of runs," Beal said. "And I think we did a great job sticking to our concepts and executing down the stretch and getting stops when we needed to. I don't ever force anything. If I get going, I get going."
Long-range shooting was Washington's scoring source early, as the Wizards went 9-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half. The Wizards hit just 3 of 8 3-pointers the rest of the night, but Beal's proved to be the largest.
Wall, Beal and forward Trevor Ariza combined to hit 9 of 16 from beyond the arc. Both Beal and Ariza had 15 points and three 3-pointers.
"They got some great looks," Nets head coach Jason Kidd said. "This Washington team lives by the three, especially when they have guys shooting over 40 percent."
Nets center Brook Lopez, who made his return after missing two games with a sprained left ankle, handled Washington's frontcourt duo of Marcin Gortat and Nene just fine. Lopez scored 22 points and hauled in five rebounds despite sitting out the entire third quarter.
"I felt fine," Lopez said. "I am definitely disappointed in myself though. I felt a little rusty. I was a step slow."
Nene, back after missing four games with right foot tendinitis, scored 17 points.
"I play off him and he plays off me," Beal said. "It's a good duo. It's definitely great to have him back out there. He's a big presence scoring the ball, defending and rebounding."
After his 29-point third quarter and 37-point overall performance Monday, Nets guard Joe Johnson was held to a more modest 20 with a team-high seven rebounds Wednesday. Guard Deron Williams recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 assists.
Trailing by 11 midway through the first quarter, Brooklyn rallied after the introduction of Pierce. The Nets hit their first six shots with the veteran on the court and went on a 14-5 run.
"I have adjusted. I have been a starter my whole career and I am making an adjustment as a player coming off the bench," Pierce said. "You just have to watch the game, help the guys on the sideline. You get a chance to see and understand what is going on out there instead of starting out the game."
With Wall on the bench for nine minutes in the first half, the Nets managed to keep up with the Wizards. Once the fourth-year man out of Kentucky returned, Washington's pace quickened and its lead expanded back to 10 before the Nets shaved it to six at halftime.
NOTES: The Nets had won four of their previous five games. ... Wizards G John Wall began the night ranked second in the NBA with 9.3 assists per game and fourth in steals per game at 2.13. ... The Wizards snapped a four-game losing-streak with a 102-101 win over the New York Knicks on Monday night.

What to Read Next