NEW YORK (AP) – The New Jersey Nets are hoping a lineup change can help them finally build some momentum.
Two days after ending a five-game losing streak, the Nets will try to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss when they take on the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
Trailing by one at halftime against Chicago on Wednesday night, the Nets (10-25) scored a season-best 32 points in the third quarter to lead by 13. Their lead disappeared due largely to a 6-of-18 shooting performance in the fourth, but they were bailed out by Sasha Vujacic’s layup with 5.3 seconds remaining and escaped with a 96-94 victory.
Kris Humphries, who had started the previous 27 games at forward, came off the bench and recorded a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds while rookie Derrick Favors made his first start.
“Every night I am motivated to go out and play,” said Humphries, who had 12 points and 17 boards in a 97-89 win over Washington on Dec. 16. “We’re trying to turn this around. Whether I’m starting or coming off the bench, whatever my role is, I’ve got to play hard.”
The 19-year-old Favors – the No. 3 overall pick in the draft and youngest player in the league – had seven points and five rebounds in just over nine minutes of action after getting into early foul trouble.
“This has been planned for some time,” coach Avery Johnson said prior to the game. “He’s had about 34 games to get some experience coming off the bench. He’s played against the Bulls before. We move forward looking at our starting 4 and 5 man of the future.”
Devin Harris had 18 points and 11 assists against the Bulls. He is averaging 24.2 points – 10.9 more than his career mark – in his last five games against the Wizards (8-25), including 29 last month.
This will be the point guard’s first matchup with top overall pick John Wall, who had another impressive effort Wednesday night despite Washington suffering its 13th loss in 15 games – 109-97 in Philadelphia.
The Wizards allowed the 76ers to shoot 71.4 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and fell to a franchise-worst 0-17 on the road.
“They had the momentum and they ran with it,” said Nick Young, averaging 19.9 points since being inserted into the starting lineup Dec. 18.
Wall scored 18 points and matched a season high with 14 assists for his third double-double in four games.
Andray Blatche added 17 points Wednesday after scoring eight in each of his two previous games on a combined 8-of-28 shooting.
Both Blatche – who averaged 25.0 points in four games against the Nets in 2009-10 – and Wall missed this season’s lone matchup with New Jersey due to injuries.
Kirk Hinrich (bruised thigh) and Josh Howard (knee) both returned after missing Saturday’s 92-81 loss to New Orleans. Hinrich had 13 points Wednesday while Howard failed to score before aggravating his injury. His status for Friday is unknown.
The Wizards are allowing 95.1 points per game at home compared to 109.1 on the road. They had taken five in a row from the Nets before losing in December.
© 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.