The Washington Wizards, still without Head Coach Wes Unseld, Jr., lost to the Brooklyn Nets, 119-118 on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.
Assistant Coach Joseph Blair, who earned his first career win as an NBA coach in his first-ever coaching start Monday against Philadelphia, again took charge of Washington.
Brooklyn entered tonight’s game without Kevin Durant, the league’s leading scorer, who is out with a left MCL sprain. Even without one of the top players in the association, the Nets boast some of the game’s most electric stars in Kyrie Irving, who is only playing away games, and former MVP James Harden.
Washington had all its players for the second consecutive game, meaning the true starting five of Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Daniel Gafford were together to start the match.
At 11:10, after a Gafford free throw, the Wizards led 3-2; it was the last time the home team held the advantage all night, although they nearly pulled it out at the buzzer.
Brooklyn managed to escape with a win despite a late 8-2 Washington run in the third quarter and a scrappy display that almost led to an exciting turnaround victory.
With his team down 119-115, Beal found Kuzma in the left corner, and the former Laker knocked down a corner three to bring the Wizards within one.
On the ensuing possession, Montrezl Harrell had a trailing block on Harden, Washington marched the ball down the court, but both Kuzma and Dinwiddie missed three-point attempts that would have sealed the game.
Even though they came up short, the Wizards had six different players score in double figures.
Beal led the way with 23 points and nine assists. Kuzma had 16 points and six rebounds, Harrell and Rui Hachimura had 14 apiece, and Deni Avdija, who only played in garbage time against the 76ers, had 13 points and five rebounds.
Irving had 30 points and seven assists for Brooklyn, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 off the bench.
The Wizards’ homestand continues Friday when they play the Toronto Raptors. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.