Wizards lose big lead for second straight game, fall to Nets

Wizards lose big lead again, fall to Nets originally appeared on NBC SportsWashington

The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 125-123 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down…

Déjà vu

One night after blowing a 20-point lead in a loss to the Blazers, the Wizards somehow topped that with an even larger collapse on the road in Brooklyn. They went up by 23 points, only to see Cam Thomas and what was left of the Nets capture the momentum and never give it back.

Thomas had a career-high 44 points off the bench to lead a Nets team playing without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons. Irving was listed out with a calf injury, though it was one day after he requested a trade, which may have played a factor.

The Wizards, meanwhile, were without Bradley Beal, who was hurt in their loss on Friday. They then saw Kyle Kuzma leaves with an injury and Kristaps Porzingis foul out with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. That left Monte Morris as their de facto closer and, though he made some big shots, they just didn’t have enough to hold off Thomas and the Nets.

The Wizards have lost two straight games following a six-game win streak. They are 24-28 on the year with two games left until the trade deadline.

Kuzma left with injury

The Wizards were already without Beal when they got more bad news on the injury front, as Kuzma exited in the second quarter with a left ankle sprain. Kuzma appeared to hurt himself on a drive to the rim and it was clear right away he was hurt. He limped off the court and into the locker room. These two losses coupled with injuries to Beal and Kuzma made for a disastrous 24 hours for the Wizards.

Kuzma has been remarkably durable for the Wizards this season, having played in a team-high 51 of their 52 games. No one has been more reliable or consistent for the Wizards amid a year in which most players have been in and out of the lineup. Certainly, the Wizards will hope it’s only a minor injury, as he’s one of their most important players.

Porzingis hot again

The hottest thing under the sun right now is Porzingis in first quarters. He had 16 points in the opening frame against the Blazers on Friday night, then had 16 points to start things off against the Nets. He has scored at least 15 points in the first quarter four times this season while nobody else has done that once.

Porzingis ended up with 38 points for the game on 11-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-5 from three. He made three triples in the first quarter, as the Nets learned very quickly they were giving him too much space. Brooklyn, though, was able to get Porzingis into foul trouble and ultimately out of the game. His departure was a crushing blow given the timing and significance with Beal and Kuzma already out.

Nunn’s dunk

As Kendrick Nunn continues to make a first impression on Wizards fans since he was traded, it’s becoming clear the guy can throw down some pretty sweet dunks. He threw one down with authority against the Rockets and in this one he took it up another level with a poster slam on Day’ron Sharpe.

One of the more impressive elements of that play was how Nunn created it all by himself in the halfcourt. It’s also perhaps a good indication he’s feeling healthy following the knee injury that made him miss all of last season.

Turbo bounced back

After a really impressive four-game stretch following the Rui Hachimura trade, Deni Avdija cooled down considerably in Friday night’s loss. He shot 0-for-8 and as a result played only 15 minutes. Avdija, though, rebounded nicely with a big game against the Nets.

Avdija had 12 points in 13 minutes in the first half. He finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. In addition to knocking down shots, Avdija had a series of flashy passes, some of which didn’t result in assists but were noteworthy nonetheless. He threw a behind-the-back pass in the first half, a pair of no-look dishes to Porzingis and then an over-the-shoulder, no-look pass to Corey Kispert.

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