As the Wizards have blossomed into an Eastern Conference contender, they've relied on a brilliant point guard, a defense that revels in mucking things up for opponents, and fairly consistent effort to overcome certain talent deficiencies. Tonight, the Nets used that blueprint to flip the script, and take advantage of a sloppy, uninspired Wizards squad.
Here's what we learned from the Wizards' worst loss of the season.
When John Wall struggles, things falls apart for the Wizards
As biased as we can be at times, even we know that John Wall won't win an MVP award this year. But if Adam Silver decides to hand out an award to the player who can mess up his team's fortunes the most when he's struggling, Wall might just win that trophy.
Tonight, Wall got into early foul trouble, picking up two fouls in the first six minutes, which sent an already sluggish start for the Wizards to a darker, uglier place. Everything was thrown out of rhythm, and the Nets, especially Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez, were ready to pounce on the Wizards' lethargy and confusion
Even when Wall got back in the game, he still just couldn't get it going offensively or defensively against Jack, who finished with 26 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Wizards lost despite minimal contributions from most of the Nets' stars
Other than Brook Lopez, who was almost dealt to the Thunder earlier in the day, none of Brooklyn's high-paid stars made a dent in tonight's game. Joe Johnson had 8 points. Kevin Garnett had 4. Deron Williams didn't even play. The Nets still won by 22. On the road.
Washington found a country for some old men in the first half
When Wall and Beal went dark, the Wizards' 30+ crowd came through to keep things close in an ugly first half. Nene was facilitating in the post, and Andre Miller did Andre Miller things to help out.
Surprisingly, Paul Pierce didn't lead the charge against his old team. For all the talk about the Nets missing Pierce, they didn't seem to skip a beat without him tonight. We'll see if Pierce can make Brooklyn miss him when he goes back to the Barclays Center on Saturday.