The Washington Wizards rallied in the third quarter Friday but couldn't get past their poor start in a 95-78 road loss to Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets. Williams sank an NBA record 9 three-pointers by the half and personally out scored the Wizards 23-14 in the first quarter alone. He finished the night with a season-high 42 points on 15-of-24 shooting, including a franchise record and career-high 11 made three-pointers.
"He put on a shooting show," said Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman after the game. "It was hard to get the ball out of his hands because it was in transition. There was no pick n' roll, no situation--he just got hot. I don't know if I've ever seen anything quite like that before."
No one outside of Williams shot the ball well, and Nets Forward Reggie Evans secured a career-high 24 rebounds as a result. Washington finished with a 35.6% completion rate while Brooklyn settled for a 39.5% completion rate (the Miami Heat, winners of their last 17 straight , average a 49.5% completion rate after 60 games). John Wall led the Wizards with a team-high 16 points on 6-for-19 shooting in defeat.
"I think we did a better job in the second and third quarter," said Wall postgame, regarding Williams. "It's one of these games you have to put behind you. Like Minnesota we just had too many turnovers. In this one we were into it, but when somebody get that hot you just have to stop them and we didn't do a great job of that."
Washington committed only 11 turnovers Friday after a season-high 24 in Wednesday's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wizards will challenge the Charlotte Bobcats tonight at home in a late one (8:00 p.m. ET, CSN), as Washington tries to make the most out of a back-to-back for both teams. Can the Wizards top the 'Cats after their Friday night fall to OKC?
The 19-41 Wizards have 22 games left and need to win them all in order to break even at .500. The 46-14 Heat have clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference while the arguably more competitive Western Conference remains entirely up for grabs.