Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal quickly scored six points in a stunning 3.8-second sequence to give the Washington Wizards a victory over host Brooklyn Nets Sunday night.
Right now, we have nothing to lose, Westbrook said. They say: Win or go home.
The Wizards, five points behind at the time of shooting, look to lose for the fifth consecutive time.
Honestly, Ish [Smith] just told me to push and pull, Beal said after the match. That’s all we could do in this situation.
Beal jumped up and hit a three-pointer, bringing Washington within two points of Brooklyn with 8.1 seconds left in the game. Forward Joe Harris quickly intercepted the ball on the back line and teammate Kevin Durant cut to the side of the basket. Miscommunication allowed Wizards goalie Garrison Mathews to steal the ball in the corner and send it to Westbrook, who scored three more goals with 4.3 seconds left in the game.
As the witches approached a point, the nets took a break. When play resumed, netminder Timote Luwawu-Cabarrot had a good chance for a layup in the final two seconds of play, but his attempt rolled over the rim.
Two free throws by Beal sealed the win for Washington.
We had this game, said Kyrie Irving, the Nets’ goalie. It should be ours, so let’s look in the mirror and see what we can improve as individuals and as a group – especially in terms of performance. I couldn’t keep the stick today. These guys were hanging around me and I was getting a little frustrated.
The Nets took an 18-point lead at Capital One Arena and had three 25-point games on Harris, Irving and Durant. The Wizards and the Nets combined for 295 points, the second-highest score in the last 25 seasons, according to ESPN’s stats and data report.
But on defense, Brooklyn continued to struggle. The Nets have scored 72 points in the paint, putting them third in this game in the last 25 seasons and third in this contest since 2017. Beal scored 22 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter. The Wizards defeated the Nets 12 to 2 in clutch time.
It was the first game of the year I got the white claw, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. I wanted to enjoy it. It’s a good feeling. I wanted our players to like it. We had a fight. We fought hard.
We’ve been doing it all year, and the basketball gods gave us a chance tonight.
The network’s defensive woes have kept the Wizards in the game. While the final sequence appeared to be the culmination of the network’s decline, Irving said Harris’ turnover and the 3 points that followed were a microcosm of the problems that haunted Brooklyn throughout the evening.
It doesn’t come in one piece, Harris added. But at the same time, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about losses if I hadn’t done [the turnaround].
Nets coach Steve Nash called Harris’ personnel change an unfortunate moment, but said he was not responsible for the loss.
If you score 149 points, that’s one error in 50 defensive mistakes, Nash said. So defensively it’s not enough, and we may see a missed stop or a roll for 3, but we shouldn’t have been in that position. We had a big lead at the start, and we left it for a long time until their confidence grew. They are desperate to win [the group] and we gave them a chance and breathed life into them.
For Durant, he’s one of the ones you have to get rid of.