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Nets make late run, but fall to Wizards in OT

Wizards guard John Wall and Nets forward DeMarre

Wizards guard John Wall and Nets forward DeMarre Carroll battle for a rebound during the first half on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Washington. Credit: AP / Alex Brandon

WASHINGTON — It’s often said that the NBA is a “make-or-miss league,” and for the better part of 42 minutes, the Nets were badly off target from three-point range Saturday night at Capital One Arena.

But they kept firing, and in the final six minutes, they made five threes in a 23-12 run that wiped out an 11-point deficit. Quincy Acy’s three-pointer tied it with 9.1 seconds left in regulation.

But in the overtime session, the Nets reverted to their earlier form — missing all six of their three-point attempts — and John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to help the Wizards pull out a 119-113 win.

Beal had 24 points, Wall added 23 points and 16 assists, and the two totaled nine of the Wizards’ 12 overtime points.

The Wizards led by as many as 23 points in the first half and were a vastly more efficient 10-for-23 from three-point range. Through 44 minutes, the Nets shot 7-for-31 from outside the arc before they flipped the switch, but they finished shooting 27.9 percent from three-point range (12-for-43).

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said he would review the shot selection and look at whether the Nets should have worked harder to drive to the basket when their long-range shots weren’t falling. But he encourages an aggressive approach from the three-point line.

As point guard Spencer Dinwiddie said, “When you’re missing high-volume threes, pointing at shot selection is the easy route. It’s what we do. When we make them, we usually win. It’s a make-or-miss league. When you miss, you find yourselves in a hole.”

The Nets (16-27) had seven players score in double figures, topped by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with 22, Jarrett Allen with 16 points and eight rebounds and DeMarre Carroll with 13 points and 10 rebounds. In addition to Wall and Beal, the Wizards (25-18) got a big game from center Marcin Gortat, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The Nets trailed 95-84 when Allen Crabbe hit the first of three straight threes with just over six minutes to play in regulation. Dinwiddie added a fourth before a dunk by Caris LeVert cut the Wizards’ lead to 105-104 with 1:45 left in regulation.

Two foul shots by Wall with 16 seconds left made it a three-point game, but Acy rebounded a three-point miss by Dinwiddie, stepped behind the line and drained it to send the game to overtime. Wall missed a shot before the buzzer.

The Nets again couldn’t buy a basket in overtime and trailed 116-113 when Hollis-Jefferson made their first OT field goal with 34.8 seconds to go. But Wall buried a jumper for a 118-113 cushion with 16.6 seconds showing to effectively put it out of reach.

Atkinson couldn’t help but blame another poor start when the Nets fell behind 20-4 at the outset and trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half.

“We dug a big hole,” he said. “I’m proud of the guys for the way they came back. It was a different game in the second half . . . I’m glad we got off the floor. The second unit was flying around. They got us back in the game.”

The loss was the fourth in the past five games for the Nets, and three were by single digits. “It’s a recurring theme with our team this year,” Dinwiddie said. “We’re in so many close games.”

No one was looking for any moral victories, but the fact that they came back from 23 down to force overtime said something. Referring to a recent blowout loss to the Pistons, Atkinson said, “We weren’t walking out of here like against Detroit. That’s not our ID. We got back to our ID, and I’m proud of that.”

New York Sports