After seeing their six-game winning streak on Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets will look to return to winning ways in the 2020-21 NBA when they take on the Washington Wizards at the Barclays Center on Sunday.
The matchup is expected to be a thrilling affair, as arguably four of the league's best-ever guards will be on the court. Both Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving had 40+ outings in the Brooklyn Nets' last outing with the Washington Wizards as the Nets continue to close the gap on the East-leading Philadelphia 76ers.
Fixture: Washington Wizards vs Brooklyn Nets - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Sunday, March 21st, 2021; 7:00 PM ET (Monday; 4:30 AM IST).
Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.
Washington Wizards Preview
After losing five games on the bounce, the Washington Wizards produced a monumental performance to topple the Utah Jazz 131-122 on Friday. The Wizards backcourt combined for 78 points on the night and have been instrumental in orchestrating the team's offense, which has averaged 116.7 points a night this month.
During the month, they have faced stiff opposition, locking horns against the LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks (twice) and the Philadelphia 76ers. Thus it was no surprise to see the Washington Wizards fall 4.5 games behind the 8th seed in the East.
In their next ten matchups, though, the Washington Wizards face five sides with losing records, which could help them revive their postseason hopes.
Key Player - Bradley Beal
If not for the Washington Wizards' erratic form, Bradley Beal would have been a realistic contender for the MVP award this season. The 27-year old has been electric from the field, scoring a career and league-high 32.5 points with a 49.1% shooting accuracy this campaign.
His efficiency from the floor is the best among shooting guards who have played over 20 games, with Beal ranking second for estimated wins added with 9.3.
Beal and Westbrook have found their mojo as an elite guard pairing as the Washington Wizards look to return to postseason contention in the East.
Washington Wizards Predicted Lineup
G Bradley Beal, G Russell Westbrook, F Garrison Mathews, F Rui Hachimura, C Alex Len.
Brooklyn Nets Preview
Aaron Gordon's stellar outing and James Harden's low shooting night meant that the Brooklyn Nets endured a loss in Orlando on Friday.
Kyrie Irving did his best to revive his side's victory hopes, posting 43 points and six rebounds, but that was not enough. However, the Brooklyn Nets will not worry much about their minor blip in performance after racking up 15 wins in their last 20 matchups.
Kevin Durant is still a few weeks from a return, with the Brooklyn Nets in no hurry to rush the superstar into action. That's because, in his absence, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have led the Brooklyn Nets with aplomb; the Nets have the league's most potent and feared offense.
While their defensive efficiency ranks them inside the league's bottom-10, they have started to tighten things up. In their last nine matchups, the Brooklyn Nets have held opposing offenses to under 116 points. With Griffin and Durant still to come in, the Brooklyn Nets will be the side to beat come the playoffs.
Key Player - Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving has racked up two 40+ outings since the All-Star break, including a lights-out performance against his old side, the Boston Celtics. Allowing Harden to take the reins as the Brooklyn Nets' offensive leader has allowed Irving to showcase his elite knockdown shooting.
Irving is averaging a career-high 28.1 points this campaign, and his accuracy from the field and 3-point line are both personal bests. Scoring over half of his efforts and over 40% of treys has put Irving in an elite bracket of only two point guards in the league to have done so.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
G Kyrie Irving, G James Harden, F Joe Harris, F Jeff Green, C DeAndre Jordan.
Wizards vs Nets Match Prediction
The last time these two sides met was in January in a lights-out scoring spectacle that ended 149-145.
Four players scored 30+ points on the night, and that was without James Harden on the court. This time around, it could be a lower scoring affair, as the Brooklyn Nets have improved defensively.
Inevitably, it will come down to a battle of the backcourts, as Russell Westbrook will attempt to secure another triple-double and close down Irving.
With home-court advantage, though, and superior scoring options in their roster, the Brooklyn Nets should come away with another win.
Where to watch the Wizards vs Nets matchup?
Sunday afternoon's fixture between the Washington Wizards and the Brooklyn Nets will be available on local networks, NBC Sports Washington and YES in the USA. The match can also be streamed live with an NBA League Pass.