NEW YORK (AP) — Mikal Bridges had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets recovered after blowing a 17-point lead to beat the Washington Wizards 102-94 on Sunday.
Cam Johnson added 14 points and starting center Nic Claxton, in just his second game of the season, had 10 points and 13 rebounds to spark a huge rebounding advantage and help the Nets finish strong after they had coughed up the lead.
Bridges shot just 11 for 29 but turned to his defense for one of the biggest plays of the game, a steal that led to his layup that tied it at 92 with 2:27 to play.
He followed with the next three points as part of a 15-0 run that turned Brooklyn's five-point deficit into a 102-92 lead.
Rookie Bilal Coulibaly, Victor Wembanyama's teammate last season in France, had a season-high 20 points for the Wizards. But Washington shot 37.5% and fell to 2-7.
Brooklyn outrebounded Washington 66-42.
The Wizards led by two with 2 1/2 minutes to play, but committed three turnovers in the next 45 seconds.
That helped the Nets pull it out mostly with defense as they struggle to put healthy combinations on the floor. Claxton had missed eight games with a sprained left ankle, and Johnson was playing in just his third game after a calf injury.
Ben Simmons remained out for the third straight game with a bruised left hip and leading scorer Cam Thomas missed his second straight during what will be at least a two-week absence with a sprained left ankle.
Despite all that, they have played well enough to be .500 after their first 10 games.
The teams combined to miss their first nine shots before Claxton tipped in a miss to break the ice. The Wizards had just two baskets midway through the first quarter and the Nets were already ahead by double figures about 30 seconds later. Claxton’s basket made it 30-13 and Brooklyn led by 15 after one.
Bridges was just 1 for 7 in the second and Washington held Brooklyn to 19 points to pull within 49-41 at the half.
Coulibaly surged into a top-10 pick with his strong play in the playoffs to help Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick of the San Antonio Spurs, and Metropolitans 92 reached the finals of their French league playoffs. He shot 8 for 12 off the bench, but by the time he dunked for his final basket in the closing seconds, it only served to end Brooklyn's decisive run.
Kyle Kuzma shot 4 for 16 for his 15 points for the Wizards, playing without reserve Delon Wright for at least the next three weeks because of a sprained left knee. Wright, who tied for second in the NBA in steals last season, was hurt Friday night in a loss to Charlotte.
Wizards: Visit Toronto on Monday.
Nets: Host Orlando on Tuesday in an In-Season Tournament game.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba
Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press