Caris LeVert takes over late to push Nets past Wizards
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — Caris LeVert scored 14 of his 34 points in the final seven minutes to help the Brooklyn Nets beat the Washington Wizards 118-110 on Sunday and move closer to a playoff berth.
“That was my favorite show to watch — watching Caris LeVert go to work, seeing how far he’s come, just being able to play 1-on-1,” Nets center Jarrett Allen said. “He was calling me, saying ‘J.A., I don’t want the screen.’ And I respected that. He didn’t want the screen and they couldn’t stop him.”
Joe Harris scored a season-high 27 points and Allen added 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets, who bounced back from a loss to Orlando in their first seeding game.
The Nets moved seven games ahead of ninth-place Washington in the Eastern Conference standings, and now the Wizards’ hopes of forcing a play-in series are fading. They need to be within four games of eighth place to force the series, and they have just six games remaining.
“It’s not over,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “The odds are against us, but we’ve got to keep fighting.”
Thomas Bryant had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Troy Brown Jr. added 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Wizards.
Both teams were short-handed. The Wizards entered the bubble without their top two scorers, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans. The Nets are without DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince because of positive coronavirus tests before the restart. Wilson Chandler also is not playing.
The game was tied at 54 at halftime. Washington led 85-83 heading into the fourth quarter, and the game was tied at 100 with 5:27 remaining before LeVert took over.
“He’s really taken another level to his game of studying the game, appreciating that he has the ability to get where he wants to,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “And the most important thing is the young man puts in the work.”
Nets: Allen set the team record for dunks in a season. His 170 jams last season tied Kenyon Martin (2002-03) for the most in a season since the stat first was kept during the 1997-98 season. He entered the game with 169 this season and had two against the Wizards. … G Jamal Crawford was not available because of conditioning. … Harris was 6 of 7 on 3-pointers while his teammates made 5 of 26.
Wizards: Lost their first restart game 125-112 to Phoenix. … Brown had a career high in assists. … Bryant made a career-high four 3-pointers, all in the first half. … Made 9 of 31 3-pointers.
Allen, a 62% free throw shooter for the season, made all 10 of his attempts on Sunday. He matched a career high for made free throws.
Vaughn was pleased with Allen’s overall effort.
“You have to give him a lot of credit,” Vaughn said. “I think it shows some definite positive signs of maturity. The competitive spirit has been taken to a different level.”
Nets guard Chris Chiozza matched a career high with 14 points in his second career start. He is in his first season with the Nets after signing a two-way contract with the team in January.
Brooks on Bryant’s performance: “He brought the energy, he brought the juice. He gave us some offense. He committed on both ends of the floor. We need him to do that consistently.”
Nets: Play the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Wizards: Play the Indiana Pacers on Monday.