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Nets can’t keep up with hot-shooting Wizards

Trey Burke of the Washington Wizards dribbles up

Trey Burke of the Washington Wizards dribbles up the court against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Verizon Center on Dec. 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Patrick Smith

WASHINGTON — Coming off back-to-back games that were decided by buzzer-beating baskets — one that fell their way and one that didn’t — the Nets played a game Friday night at Verizon Center that was notable only for the utter absence of drama. A hot-shooting Wizards team that has been on a roll in December finished the year that way with a 118-95 rout of the Nets.

The win was the ninth in the past 12 games for Washington (16-16) while the Nets (8-24) dropped to 1-16 on the road. The Wizards shot 56.6 percent from the field and dominated nearly every statistical category from rebounding (44-32) to points in the paint (50-32) to second-chance points (17-6) and fast-break points (14-6).

“They played great,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said of the Wizards. “They forced five or six turnovers right off the bat and got off to a good start. That being said, I’m disappointed with our performance. Coming off two really competitive games against good teams, I felt like we should have come in here and played better. That’s rare this season to be at this level of disappointment. I don’t think we were ready to play. I’ll take that on me . . . It was overall energy. I didn’t feel that spirit.”

High-scoring guard Bradley Beal (ankle) did not play for the Wizards, but Trey Burke came off the bench to score 27 points and shoot 10-for-12. John Wall had 19 points and 14 assists and Marcin Gortat added 19 points and 13 rebounds.

Trevor Booker led the Nets with 16 points and seven rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also scored 16. Bojan Bogdanovic and rookie Caris LeVert each added 12 and Brook Lopez totaled 11 points and a team-high six assists.

Two days after playing one of their best defensive games of the season in Chicago, the Nets gave Washington’s shooters the kid-glove treatment in the first half, when the Wizards shot 57.4 percent. Eleven Nets turnovers led to 10 Washington points and helped fuel a fast break that outscored the Nets 12-0 on the way to a 66-50 halftime lead.

Otto Porter Jr. had it going early with 10 first-quarter points, but his hot hand paled in comparison with Burke’s in the second period. Every one of Burke’s seven shots found the bottom of the net, including four from three-point range, as he totaled a season-high 20 points by halftime, 18 of them in the second quarter. As a team, Washington shot 66.7 percent from the field (14-for-21) in the second quarter.

Atkinson credited Wall for creating open looks for Burke. “John Wall created havoc in the pick-and-roll,” Atkinson said. “He had his scoring going, and when we showed a crowd against him, he found shooters.”

Atkinson and Lopez said Wall’s play forced the Nets to change their pick-and-roll coverage in the second half. “Wall was getting great looks coming off the pick-and-roll,” Lopez said. “He’s so dangerous, making everyone else better because he’s such a pro with the ball.”

After the Wizards pushed their lead to 21 points in the third, Booker scored five straight points to ignite a 10-0 surge that cut the Nets’ deficit to 76-65. But that was as close as they would get.

“Our energy level wasn’t there pretty much from the git-go,” Lopez said. “It wasn’t us. It’s something that is our hallmark and we have to hang our hat on every night, and it just wasn’t there tonight.”

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