Nene and Bradley Beal hadn’t shared the court in more than three weeks, each player nursing an injury before being cleared to return in New York. But they share little secrets on the court, either by a head nod or simple eye contact, and the Washington Wizards pair showed they have not lost the connection despite the extended time apart. With the challenge of maximizing their time while making sure Beal and Nene maintain strict minute limits, Coach Randy Wittman managed to make sure the duo was on the floor when it mattered most. With the Wizards holding a three-point lead, Nene directed Marcin Gortat to set a screen for Beal. Nene then took a pass from John Wall and simply handed off the ball to Beal, who stepped back and drained a three-pointer with 1 minute 8 seconds left that allowed the Wizards to escape with a 113-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday at Barclays Center. “I play off him, he plays off me. It’s a good duo we have,” said Beal, who scored 15 points with three three-pointers in his second game back since returning from a stress injury in his right leg. “It’s definitely great to have him back out there.” Nene returned Wednesday after missing the previous four games with tendinitis in his right Achilles’ and brought back his playmaking and thunderous dunks to score 17 points with three rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Two nights before, Beal saved the Wizards in his first game back against the New York Knicks — Washington’s first victory this season in seven games without Nene. The Wizards (11-13) are 10-7 this season with Nene in the lineup. “It was a great victory,” Nene said. “I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do big things, but with God’s mercy, he inspire me and I was able to help my team.” The last time Wall faced Deron Williams at Barclays Center in March, Williams set an NBA record with nine three-pointers in the first half and scored 42 points. Wall wasn’t able to get payback in the same way, but he made his first three attempts from long distance in the first half and then limited Williams to just 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. In his past two games against Wall, Williams has shot a combined 10 for 27 from the field. The Nets (9-16) had gone 3-1 in their first four games since Williams returned from an ankle injury, but Wall attacked him on both ends of the floor. Wall had a team-high 21 points and six assists and made two impressive defensive plays in the fourth quarter, swiping the ball from Williams for a one-handed dunk and later sending Nets fans heading to the exits when he met Williams at the rim to swat his layup attempt in the final minute.
Nene returns to lead Washington win in Brooklyn, 113-107
Washington Post | Dec 19