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Friday, January 4, 2013
W2W4: Nets vs. Wizards

By Mike Mazzeo

Coming off their biggest win of the season, the Brooklyn Nets will look to avoid a letdown on Friday night against the Washington Wizards. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

CAN’T LOOK PAST 'EM: Recently fired coach Avery Johnson used to say the Nets aren’t good enough to look past anyone. That’s still the case, despite beating the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The Nets (17-15) had their most complete performance against the Thunder, regaining command down the stretch after blowing a 23-point lead. The Wizards (4-26) have the NBA’s worst record, and are just 3-12 at home. Still, they beat the defending champion Miami Heat at Verizon Center on Dec. 4. So anything is possible.

WILL HE MAKE IT OUT ALIVE? Andray Blatche returns to D.C. and will play his first game against his former team. Blatche, who has resurrected his career in Brooklyn after seven tumultuous seasons in Washington, recently fired shots at the Wizards during a radio interview, which didn’t make their fans too happy. His ex-teammate, Trevor Booker, told the Washington Post, “I heard they got extra security over on his bench, just in case somebody wants to throw stuff. So I don’t know how true that is.” Booker later joked, “I hope he makes it out alive." A Wizards spokesman said the entire quote was said tongue-in-cheek. It will be interesting to see what type of reception Blatche receives. Likely, a lot of boos.

BIG THREE: Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez combined for 77 points in Brooklyn’s victory over Oklahoma City. It was the first time in a long time that all three players were at their best in the same game. Johnson had a season-high 33 points, while Williams chipped in 19 points, 13 assists and a season-high five steals. Lopez added 25 points and five rebounds.

The Nets have a very favorable schedule coming up. Five of their next six opponents have losing records. Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he’s looking for “consistency” from his erratic team.