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Brooklyn Nets begin season-ending homestand against Washington Wizards

04/15/2013 12:27 PM ET
By The Associated Press

Deron Williams and the Nets will open their first-round playoff matchup at home this weekend.(AP)
(AP) -- Locked into the Eastern Conference's No. 4 seed, the Brooklyn Nets have little to play for down the stretch.

Making sure they're fresh for the playoffs is a much bigger priority.

Deron Williams is one of several players who could be rested as the Nets open a season-ending two-game homestand against the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

While Brooklyn (47-33) had a chance to climb to within one game of Indiana for third place in the East after the Pacers lost to New York on Sunday, coach P.J. Carlesimo's team instead suffered a disappointing defeat of its own, 93-87 at Toronto.

Despite being two games back with two to go, the Nets can't catch Indiana, which owns the tiebreaker as a division winner.

Williams had 30 points and Reggie Evans collected 16 rebounds for Brooklyn, which had a four-game winning streak snapped and never led Sunday. The Nets have home-court advantage in the first found round of the playoffs but are still awaiting their opponent.

"We don't know whether we're playing Chicago or Atlanta but there's finality for the fourth spot," Carlesimo said. "That's a good thing going forward."

Carlesimo said his staff will discuss resting players over the final two games. Brooklyn concludes the regular season against Detroit on Wednesday.

"We don't need to get anybody hurt," he said. "We're not playing for anything. Going forward now we've certainly got to rest some people."

Gerald Wallace missed his second straight game Sunday with a leg injury, leaving his status for this one unlikely. Williams came out of Sunday's loss a bit banged up and could also sit out.

"I got kneed twice today in two different spots," said Williams, averaging 27.5 points over the last six games. "We'll see how it goes (Monday)."

Washington (29-51) surely wouldn't mind seeing Williams in dress clothes. The three-time All-Star put on quite a show as Brooklyn cruised to an easy 95-78 win the last time these teams met March 8, setting an NBA record with nine 3-pointers in the first half.

Williams, who with 33 points over the first two quarters became the first player in a decade to match the opposing team's score at halftime, finished the night with a season-high 42 while going 11 of 16 from beyond the arc.

"Deron, he was hot like fish grease," said Evans, averaging an NBA-best 15.3 rebounds since Feb. 22.

The Wizards are coming off their fourth consecutive loss, 97-86 to Philadelphia on Friday. John Wall continued his impressive play with 24 points and seven assists, but no one else scored more than 10.

Washington led by as many as 13 in the second quarter but shot a season-worst 7.7 percent (1 for 13) from long distance. The Wizards haven't dropped five straight since Dec. 29-Jan. 6.

"It's very disappointing," Garrett Temple said. " We have two more games left and we definitely want to get to 30 wins."

Washington has shot just 38.8 percent and been outscored by an average of 13.2 points during a six-game road skid. The Nets, though, will have to keep an eye on Wall, who's 24.7 points per game since March 12 ranks in the top 10 in the league.

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