NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 16th (All times eastern)
Washington Wizards (6-17) at New Jersey Nets (6-19), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Nets will try to put the brakes on an ugly eight-game losing streak when they entertain the Washington Wizards tonight from the Prudential Center.
New Jersey suffered its eighth consecutive defeat with Tuesday's 82-77 setback to Atlantic Division-rival Philadelphia in the middle contest of a three-game homestand. Jrue Holiday scored 19 points and Spencer Hawes had 18 for the Sixers in that one.
Brook Lopez scored 16 points to lead New Jersey, while Devin Harris and Travis Outlaw both chipped in 14.
Now sitting at an Eastern Conference-worst 6-19, the Nets swung a fairly significant deal on Wednesday, acquiring guard Sasha Vujacic and a fair of first round picks.
The Nets got Vujacic along with a 2011 first round draft choice from the Los Angeles Lakers and a 2012 first rounder from Houston. Veteran forward Joe Smith went from the Nets to LA while second-year swingman Terrence Williams was sent to the Rockets. In addition, the Nets shipped two second- round picks to Los Angeles while the Lakers also acquired the draft rights to center Sergei Lishchuk from the Rockets.
Vujacic has spent his entire seven-year NBA career with the Lakers and has averaged just 1.8 points in 11 games this season. Over 420 career games, the native of Slovenia has posted 4.8 points and 1.7 rebounds.
"This trade benefits our team in both the short and long term," said New Jersey general manager Billy King. "Sasha is a veteran NBA player who will add depth to our backcourt rotation, while the addition of the two future number one picks adds to our assets as we look to rebuild into a championship contender."
The Wizards, meanwhile, continue to struggle in their own right and dropped their fifth straight game against the Lakers on Tuesday when Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 24 points, as Los Angeles topped Washington, 103-89, at the Verizon Center.
Nick Young led the Wizards with 21 points, and JaVale McGee scored 12 and grabbed nine rebounds for Washington. Gilbert Arenas and Al Thornton both finished with 11 points in defeat.
The Wizards were without the services of John Wall and Andray Blatche, who are both out with knee injuries, and forward Yi Jianlian left the game at the midway point of the first quarter with a sprained right knee.
"Every time you lose someone, roles change," Wizards head coach Flip Saunders said. "When you continue to lose people, you're looking at a guy like [Trevor] Booker who's an energy guy for you, but now he has to become a main guy. You're asking for somebody that is really not ready to do that, but I thought overall as a team we competed."
Wall is listed as questionable tonight while Blatche is doubtful and Yi has been ruled out as Washington attempts to win on the road for the first time this season. The Wizards have beaten New Jersey five consecutive times but are an NBA worst 0-12 as the visitor on the year.
12/16 11:01:13 ET