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Nets choke at end of shocking loss to Wizards, Russell Westbrook

Against the worst team in the East, the Nets suffered their worst loss of the season. Frankly, it’s to imagine them topping this collapse.

From blowing a huge lead to Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot missing a point-blank layup at the buzzer, Brooklyn suffered a 149-146 implosion in Washington.

The Nets (13-9) saw their winning streak snapped at four, after blowing an 18-point cushion in the first half and a five-point lead with 12.3 seconds to play.

Kyrie Irving (26 points, eight assists) had put Brooklyn ahead, 146-141, only to watch his team implode against the last-place Wizards (4-12).

Bradley Beal had 20 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, and Russell Westbrook torched the Nets with a game-high 41.

Westbrook beat Irving to tie it at 141 with 41.1 seconds left in regulation. Irving answered with a 17-foot pull-up on the other end, breaking the deadlock just 10 seconds later. He went on to hit a pair of free throws with 12.3 left to put the Nets up by five. But what should’ve been a victory turned into a collapse.

The Nets surrendered six points in 2.5 seconds. Beal hit a long 3-pointer, and after Joe Harris gave the ball away on an inbounds, Westbrook drilled a 3-pointer with 4.3 to go. When Irving hit Luwawu-Cabarrot on a no-look pass but the ensuing layup rolled around and out, the Nets suffered a heartbreaker.

James Harden missed his first game since joining the Nets. Kevin Durant had 37 points, and Harris added 30 on a career-high 8 of 13 from deep. Jeff Green continued his strong play off the bench with 23 points, but the Nets defense was atrocious.

The Nets let the Wizards shoot 51.9 percent overall and torch them late.

“Obviously, defense isn’t our forte, so we’ve got to work at it and be diligent with trying to just make sure we can control the things that we can control and give ourselves a chance,” said Steve Nash before the game.

Russell Westbrook (right) celebrates in front of Joe Harris after making the game-winning shot Sunday night.
Russell Westbrook (right) celebrates in front of Joe Harris after making the game-winning shot Sunday night.
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“So there’s been slight improvements, but it’s a long, long journey, and we’ve got to just continue to have this type of mindset where we’re looking to improve every and not necessarily just counting the record.”

The Nets stormed out to a quick 14-4 lead on a Durant 3-pointer just 3:03 into the game. After Jordan dunked off a Durant feed, his block of Westbrook led to a Joe Harris 3 on the other end for a 19-5 lead.

Green pump-faked Len on a sloppy closeout and drove right through an empty lane for a dunk that made it 23-9. In one frustrated motion, Beal snatched the ball up off the bounce and slammed it into the stanchion.

The Nets led by as much as 31-13 on an Irving turnaround with 2:56 left in the first. But they took their foot off the gas in the second, and it came back to cost them in the end.

Letting Washington get into the paint, the Nets allowed up an 8-0 run to lose control of the game, and then a 7-0 spurt to lose the lead altogether.

With the Nets clinging to a 56-50 edge, they saw Washington erase it. A Beal three-point play capped that run and gave the Wizards their first lead at 57-56.

On the other end, Beal raked Durant across the arm on a drive, and the two had some words after Beal got whistled for a foul. From that point on, Durant took over and sparked a 15-8 run that closed the half.

Durant had eight points and two assists — both for Jordan lob dunks — to send Brooklyn into the locker room up 71-65. The Nets could never quite play enough defense in the second half to take complete control.

Brooklyn saw Beal pull the Wizards within 121-119 on a 3-pointer with 6:40 left. But the Nets responded with a 9-2 run, Irving’s pull-up 3 padding the cushion back to nine with 4:54 to play.