Wizards-Nets Preview


Despite being sent from a playoff contender to one of the worst teams in the league, Nene is excited about providing the Washington Wizards with a boost.

The New Jersey Nets, meanwhile, continue to falter despite making a major acquisition last week as well.

Nene is expected to make his Wizards debut as visiting Washington and New Jersey both try to avoid a sixth defeat in seven games Wednesday night.

Just three games ahead of NBA-worst Charlotte, Washington (10-34) acquired Nene from Denver along with Brian Cook and a future second-round pick in exchange for JaVale McGee, Ronny Turiaf and Nick Young in a three-team trade Thursday. Despite being short-handed, the Wizards managed to defeat New Orleans 99-89 that night - their only win during their current six-game trek.

While Cook scored three points in limited minutes during Sunday's 97-92 loss at Memphis, Washington could finally reap the full benefits of its deal with Nene expected to play. The Brazil native, who played in just 28 games with the Nuggets due to injuries, is averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds.

"I was a little scared a couple days ago, but I understand God had a plan, and the plan is to be here," Nene said. "I'm gonna do by best, that's what I can promise. I'm gonna do everything possible to help the team, to help the young guys.

New Jersey (15-32) was also busy before the deadline, sending Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a protected first-round draft pick to Portland in exchange for former All-Star Gerald Wallace.

After scoring 11 points during Saturday's 102-94 loss to New Orleans in his Nets debut, Wallace had 27 and a team-high 12 boards during Monday's 105-100 loss to Cleveland.

Despite being outrebounded 55-37 and outscored 66-40 in the paint, New Jersey had a chance to tie in the final minute before Deron Williams committed his fifth turnover.

"We gave them too many second chance opportunities," Wallace said. "When you give any team 21 offensive rebounds, they are going to beat you no matter what goes right for you. That is something we can't do, we got to rebound better as a team."

The Nets have dropped three straight overall and 11 of 13 on their own court. Their five home wins on the season are the third-fewest in the league.

"What can you do, you have to keep going, you can't quit," said Kris Humphries, who took responsibility for Williams' turnover after not rolling to the basket. "You think about it for about 10 or 20 minutes after the game and you have to keep trucking."

The Nets had lost seven of eight in this series before a season-opening 90-84 win at Washington on Dec. 26.

New Jersey, which continues to play without center Brook Lopez (sprained right ankle), could be without Jordan Farmar (sore right groin) for a fourth straight game.

Washington's Andray Blatche has been shut down for the foreseeable future to work on his conditioning. He averaged 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in nine games after missing five weeks due to a calf injury.