Recap: Wizards drop first game of season, fall to Nets 104-90
FINAL: WIZARDS 90 | NETS 104
WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (19), Daniel Gafford (13), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11), Aaron Holiday (11)
NETS: Kevin Durant (25), Patty Mills (21), Bruce Brown (14), James Harden (14)
The Wizards were defeated by the Nets 104-90 on Monday night at Barclays Center. Bradley Beal struggled from the field, but led the team with 19 points. Playing against his former team for the first time, Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists. Kevin Durant scored a game-high 25 points to lead Brooklyn.
Early 3-pointers from Dinwiddie and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope gave the Wizards a lead in the game’s opening minutes, but the Nets’ offense caught fire shortly thereafter. After hitting two of its first three triples, Washington missed 15 of its next 16. Brooklyn went on a 22-6 run to take an 18-point lead late in the first quarter. The Nets shot 16-27 (.593) from the field and 4-8 (.500) from three, led by 11 points off the bench from Patty Mills. Daniel Gafford made his presence known in the second, highlighted by a pair of dunks and a block off the backboard of a Blake Griffin layup attempt early in the frame. A 10-2 run from Washington cut the Brooklyn lead from 25 to 17, but the Wizards’ 3-point struggles prevented them from getting much closer. Beal knocked down a step-back triple with 11 seconds remaining in the half, but Durant answered, burying a three of his own on the other end to give the Nets a 59-42 advantage.
The Wizards got to work early in the third quarter, going on a 7-0 run before a Beal 3-pointer just over four minutes into the half cut the deficit to 10 points. An and-one layup and made free throw from Gafford less than a minute later cut the lead to single digits. Just as Washington was gaining momentum, Harden converted through a foul on a 3-point attempt and knocked down the free throw to give Brooklyn a 67-52 lead halfway through the third. The Nets led by 18 entering the fourth quarter despite the Wizards’ defense holding them to 6-22 (.273) from the field and 3-13 (.231) from three in the third quarter. Down by 19, Dinwiddie blocked a mid-range Durant jumper, leading to a transition 3-pointer from Aaron Holiday. After a stop on the other end, Montrezl Harrell scored on an and-one layup to pull the Wizards back within 13 points with eight minutes to go. Washington was unable to maintain the momentum, allowing a 6-0 Brooklyn run to put the Nets back up 19 points – a lead that would hold for the remainder of regulation.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Kuzma continues to impress with rebounding ability
Like the Wizards’ offense as a whole, Kyle Kuzma struggled to get going from the field, but continued to find more ways to contribute than just hist scoring. He added 13 rebounds, 11 of which were defensive, giving him 11-plus rebounds in all three of Washington’s outings this season. Kuzma is now averaging 13.0 rebounds per game this season, a significant uptick from his 5.7 per game career average.
KCP notches first double-figure scoring night
Sunday after practice, Unseld Jr. said he was working to find ways to get Kentavious Caldwell-Pope more involved in the Wizards’ offense. Whatever those schematic tweaks were, they showed up early Monday night against the Nets. Caldwell-Pope was aggressive to start the game, taking the team’s first three shots of the night, including a drive against James Harden on the first possession of the game and a pair of 3-pointers – and scored a team-high seven first-quarter points. Caldwell-Pope was one of six Wizards to score in double-figures, finishing with 11 points on 5-11 (.455) shooting to go along with three rebounds and a steal.
Durant does it all
Durant did what he does best on Monday night, making a standout scoring performance look easy. The Brooklyn star, who is now averaging 31.0 points per game this season, finished with 25 points on 9-17 (.529) from the field, 1-2 (.500) from three and added eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. He scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half on 7-10 (.700) shooting.