NEW YORK (AP) — First Kyrie Irving, then Kevin Durant. Once both superstars had missed, a Brooklyn Nets team that believes it’s good enough to win a title wasn’t even good enough for a winning record.
Bradley Beal had 27 points, 10 rebounds and the assist on Thomas Bryant’s go-ahead dunk with 14.9 seconds left, leading the Washington Wizards to a 123-122 victory over the Nets on Sunday.
Irving and Durant missed jumpers in the final six seconds, dropping the Nets to 3-4 in their first season with the duo playing together.
“It’s just taking time and it’s not going to be put together overnight, nor am I expecting it to, nor am I going to get frustrated over six games or however many games we’ve played,” Irving said. “The object of this regular season was to continue to get better and prepare for the 16 wins in the playoffs.”
Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 10 assists but only five rebounds after recording triple-doubles in his first four games with the Wizards. Bryant finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds as Washington won its second straight after an 0-5 start.
“We guarded our tails off. We defended without fouling late down the stretch,” Beal said. “We know how hard of a job that is. We’ve got two of the best players ever to touch a basketball on the other side, so it’s a tough task, man, but I think we did an excellent job of accepting that challenge.”
Irving had 30 points and 10 assists for the Nets, while Durant had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But Durant also had six of the Nets’ 20 turnovers that led to 23 Washington points.
“I can live with two or three, but six of them is too much for me,” Durant said.
The lead changed hands frequently down the stretch before Beal missed a jumper with the Wizards down by one. Bryant grabbed the rebound and the ball got back to Beal, who drove into the lane and dished it to his big man.
Irving then missed a 3-pointer but the Nets grabbed the rebound and got it to Durant, whose jumper with 1.5 seconds left was off.
The Nets, who pulled out a 145-141 shootout against the Hawks on Wednesday, were on pace for another one at halftime. Down 12 early in the second quarter after being outscored 11-0 to start the period, they finished with a flurry to lead 71-70.
The Wizards picked up their defense in the second half and went aggressively to the boards, finishing with 23 more shot attempts.
“I thought we had a chance to extend the lead a couple of times but that’s a team that’s ready for the championship this year with all that talent they have,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said. “They just keep coming with talent but I thought we competed.”
Wizards: Rookie Deni Avdija turned 20 on Sunday. Brooks joked that the first five games with the first-round pick were rough. “I don’t like coaching teenagers,” Brooks said. … Westbrook had no rebounds in the first half.
Nets: Brooklyn fell to 1-3 on its homestand with games remaining Tuesday against Utah and Thursday against Philadelphia. … Joe Harris scored 16 points.
Irving and Beal both scored 20 points in the first half. They share the NBA lead with four 20-point halves this season.
Beal has scored 20 or more points in 30 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA. Durant reached 25 points for the fifth straight game, the longest streak by a Nets players since Deron Williams had six in a row from Feb. 11-20, 2012.
Wizards: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Nets: Host Utah on Tuesday.