Legs outstretched, kicked back in a cushy chair about two hours before the opening jump ball, Brook Lopez was all smiles as he chatted with Nets general manager Billy King.
The center was relaxed and in a pretty good mood after his whirlwind day 24 hours earlier, when he shook off trade rumors and had one of his best performances of the season, spurring the Nets to a win over one of the Eastern Conference's top teams.
Surely he had visions of a potential repeat Saturday night, particularly with the Nets facing the same team on the tail end of a home-and-home. But the Wizards didn't share that premise.
Washington picked it up in the second half, taking advantage of the Nets' ice-cold shooting. They misfired on six of their final seven shots and lost to the Wizards, 99-90, at Barclays Center.
"I thought we played courageously," said Nets coach Lionel Hollins, whose team lost for the eighth time in nine games. "We battled and eventually we went to empty."
They lost because of their inability to gather rebounds, leading to way too many extra opportunities for the Wizards. The Nets (17-24) got outworked 21-11 on second-chance points, yielding 13 offensive rebounds. Washington clobbered the Nets 49-40 on the glass.
"Just every big possession where we needed to get a stop and one out, it didn't happen," said Lopez, who had 15 points and five rebounds off the bench. "I definitely can attribute a couple of those to myself."
Said Hollins, "We're not a very good rebounding team as it goes already. We held our own [Friday], but we were a lot more spry [Friday]. Tonight, they came out pushing and banging, and we didn't have a resistance."
Jarrett Jack had 22 points and eight assists and Joe Johnson added 15 points for the Nets. Kevin Garnett, playing in a back-to-back for only the third time this season, had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Nene led Washington, which had six players crack double- digits in scoring, with 20 points and six rebounds. Bradley Beal added 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Wizards (28-13).
The Nets trailed for the majority of the fourth quarter, tying the score only once at 81. Unlike a night earlier, when the Nets surged past them in the second half and never really were threatened, the Wizards didn't sleepwalk in the final minutes this time. They held the Nets in check, refusing to allow them to get into a rhythm.
"They did a good job on the pick-and-roll coverage and they definitely were very, very vocal," Jack said. "You can tell they changed up some things from yesterday.They did a good job of limiting us to one shot per possession, trying to get a contest on whatever shot we had and then those guys were cleaning up the glass. So they did a good job."
The Nets had to raise their level of play to match the Wizards in the second half but were unable to do so.
"Tonight, obviously, they [were] more desperate, knowing that we went into Washington last night and got a win," Johnson said. "So we knew we were going to get their best shot today, but I thought we played great. I just think down the stretch we couldn't get stops and we couldn't make shots to get us over the hump."