BIG GAME: The Nets (33-30) beat the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors on Monday at home, then squeaked out a one-point victory over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat two days later at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Nets lead the Wizards (34-31) by a single percentage point (.524 to .523) for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. Brooklyn is 0-2 against Washington this season.
The Nets have won seven of their past eight overall, holding their opponents to 100 points over the duration of that stretch. But in those two losses to the Wizards, they’ve surrendered a total of 225 points. That just can’t happen if they want to win Saturday night.
KEEPING THEIR GUARD UP: The Wizards have a dynamic young backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal. As Nets coach Jason Kidd put it, Wall has been playing as well as any point guard in the NBA right now. Wall is averaging 19.6 points and 8.8 assists per game this season. Beal sprained his right ankle on Friday night in Orlando, but will start. Meanwhile, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are coming off a combined 4-for-18 shooting performance in Miami. Granted, Williams did hit a huge shot in crunch time.