The last time the Wizards squared off with the Nets was on November 4 in D.C., and it's a game Washington won't soon forget. The Nets dominated from start to finish, winning by a final score of 128-86. Since then, the Wizards have seemingly turned a corner. They've gone 7-5 and have played some of their best basketball of the season. Now, it's time for a rematch in Brooklyn.
WHERE: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Washington
RADIO: The Team 980 & The Wizards App
Rui Hachimura (right ankle soreness -- out)
Delon Wright (right hamstring strain -- out)
David Duke Jr. (non-COVID illness -- questionable)
Ben Simmons (left knee soreness -- out)
T.J. Warren (left foot; injury recovery -- out)
Yuta Watanabe (right hamstring strain -- out)
Alondes Williams (right adductor strain -- out)
KRISTAPS PORZINGIS' HEAT CHECK
NBA fans are familiar with the concept of a heat check. It frequently happens after a player has made a few nice plays in a row. The hoop starts to look as big as the ocean. They feel supreme confidence. And they take a heat check -- usually a deep shot.
This showdown against the Nets will essentially operate as a full-game heat check for Porzingis. Monday evening in D.C., he dropped a career-high 41 points on an absurdly efficient 12-of-18 shooting from the field, 6-of-10 shooting from deep, and 11-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line. He was also a menace on defense, recording three blocks and two steals.
The Wizards came away with a win in that game, and now, Porzingis gets another 48 minutes to see if he's still scorching hot.
BRADLEY BEAL OPENING THE GAME WITH AGGRESSION
On Monday evening against the Wolves, one of the reasons the Wizards were able to get off to such a good start was because of Beal's aggression right from the tip. He scored nine points in the opening nine minutes on 4-of-4 shooting from the field.
Obviously, it's unreasonable to expect him to make his first four shots every night, but it's not necessarily about the makes and misses. It's about how his aggression opens up looks for his teammates.
When Beal is aggressive in looking for his own shot, it drives a fear into opposing defenses. He's one of the best scorers in basketball, and he demands attention at all times. That opens up the court for every other Wizard. Keep an eye on Beal's offensive approach in this one.
LIMITING ROLE PLAYERS
It's no secret: Kevin Durant is the engine that makes this Nets squad go. He's been sensational this season and is coming off a Monday night performance where he dropped 45 points on an ungodly 19-of-24 shooting from the field. When he's on, there's no stopping him.
For the Wizards, the key will be limiting the guys around Durant. Can they make life hard on Kyrie Irving? Can they keep Nic Claxton away from the rim? Can they run Seth Curry and Joe Harris off the three-point line? If they can do those things, they'll have a good chance of coming away with an important road win.