WASHINGTON -- When the Nets blew through the nation's capital a few weeks ago, just days before President Obama's second inauguration, they escaped with a wild double-overtime win, all thanks to Joe Johnson's game-winner.
And the Wizards didn't even have John Wall available that night.
But that won't be the case Friday night when they meet Washington again at the Verizon Center. Wall is back from injury and the Nets know things should be a little different this time around, as the Knicks found out here two days ago when the Wizards put it on them.
"Well, John Wall changes things tremendously," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said before the team's shootaround at the Verizon Center. "Their guards actually played well against us last time, though. The guys who played in their place did a good job, but Trevor [Ariza] is playing very well lately as is Martell [Webster]. John Wall changes any team. He one of the best fastbreak point guards in the whole league, so it makes a big difference.
"Anybody’s transition goes up exponentially right away."
Joe Johnson said: "They’ve got John Wall back, so that’s motivation for them to come out and play a little harder. It’s kind of like they are not really playing for anything, it’s easy to come out and play loose and have fun and play together. So we understand we are playing a very dangerous team right now."
The way Johnson sees it, everyone has to have a hand in the task of trying to keep Wall in check.
"It’s going to be a challenge for all of us, especially us guards to really take the onus on guarding our man one-on-one," he said. "We can’t put everything on Deron in trying to stop him. But collectively as a team, we all have to pay a lot of attention to him and lock on our man as well."
As Carlesimo explained, Wall is one of the league's quickest guards. The Nets have had trouble defending some of the faster ones, so it should be interesting to see how they deal with Wall's explosiveness.
"I’m not curious, but he’s a challenge," Carlesimo said. "There’s no question about that. That’s one of the things they do well. To be honest with you, their defense is really what’s enabling them to win. I’m going to say maybe 12 games they’ve given up 100 points one time. Particularly when John played all or most of them. So they are getting the ball up the court quick.
"It’s not like they are walking the ball up the court and depending on their offense to help their defense. They don’t get credit for being as good a defensive team as they are, and when you look the numbers, particularly some of the teams they’ve been playing in this stretch, I think there was one team that had 100 points against them. That’s as significant. That’s as big a concern tonight as transition."