Game 81 Recap: Nets 106, Wizards 101. The One Where the Starters Rested, But Toko Shined

Toko (Nets rookie forward Tornike Shengalia from the Republic of Georgia) has quickly become a Brooklyn fan favorite, even though he hasn't played much. But tonight, he played a lot, and was a big role in the Nets winning this meaningless game

You know that sick point-guard matchup between Deron Williams and John Wall that I mentioned in the preview? Well, that never happened in tonight's Nets-Wizards tilt as Brooklyn rested all of its players that play significant minutes, other than Andray Blatche (who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 boards), Kris Humphries (also 20 points), Gerald Wallace (returning from injury), and C.J. Watson. No D-Will, Joe, Brook, Reggie, Keith, Jerry. Meanwhile, Washington–firmly out of the playoffs–didn't purposely rest anyone but had a few key injuries, as Nene, Martell Webster, and Trevor Ariza all didn't play.

Thusly, as you'd imagine, this game was really ugly for the first three quarters, as the Nets hit less than 50 percent of their free throws (48 percent) and both Washington and Brooklyn combined to commit 33 turnovers. Also, the Wizards looked like the only team that had any measured interest in winning for much of the game, building a high double-digit lead in the 2nd quarter. However, the Nets–led by Toko Shengalia, Mirza Teletovic, rookie Tyshawn Taylor, and even Blatche–fought back to take the lead late in the 4th, and would eventually hold on. Kris Joseph–even with a horrendously ugly airball from three–played 20 decent minutes, even though he didn't much on the box score at all.

A 100 percent meaningless game/win, but at least the young guys like Taylor, Joseph, Mirza, and Toko were able to play significant minutes and show P.J. that they aren't completely incapable of producing in a pinch. 

Some other observations I had from the game: #ReggieEvansReboundWatch: 0. Even Reggie can't get rebounds if he doesn't enter the game…..Gerald Wallace looked pretty bad in his return from the injury that's cost him the last few games. Limited mobility, continued offensive awfulness, and a demonstrated lack of confidence. Interesting to see if P.J. cuts him out of the starting lineup when the playoffs start this weekend……Really nice games from the Nets' starting front-court (Blatche and Hump), albeit against a pretty poor Wizards opposition. Both made tons of jumpers, rebounded great (without Reggie), played half-way decent defense, and basically led the team. Very nice stuff…..MarShon got 29 minutes, and put in a solid 12 points. The simple truth is that his offensive versatility is valuable for Brooklyn going into the postseason, and he needs to get constant time in order to be productive. That's up to P.J. at this point……Toko was incredible, notching a double-double (11 and 11), hustling all over the joint, stuffing shots in awesome ways, and hitting acrobatic layups. Suffice to say, the Barclays crowd was flipping out…….Mirza sighting. Scored 14 points on efficient shooting with five rebounds. Feels like he hadn't played in months before tonight's game……First real good game of Tyshawn's season. Commanded the team as a floor general towards end of game.

Looking Ahead

Last regular season game is on Wednesday at Barclays Center against the 76ers. Still meaningless.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, since birth. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18