NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins hasn’t been doing too much scoreboard watching with his team fighting to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The one result he’s worried about these days is what increases the number in the win column for the Nets, who have three games to go.
Friday night, Brooklyn took care of its end of the deal as Brook Lopez scored 26 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added a career-high 22 — hitting all six of his 3-point attempts — in a 117-80 blowout of the Washington Wizards.
Brooklyn remained in sole possession of the eighth and final spot in the East.
The Nets’ 37-point margin was the biggest at Barclays Center, where they’ve won six of their last seven and 10 of 13 overall.
“Well, if we don’t keep it going, we’ll be at home. If we keep it going we’ll be in the playoffs,” Hollins said. “We win out, we’re in. That’s the beauty of it. We’re not worried about anybody else.
“We’d like for those teams behind us to lose, but if they don’t and we win, it doesn’t matter.”
Reserve guard Jarrett Jack scored 14 points and Thaddeus Young also added 10 points off the bench for the Nets, whose backups outscored their counterparts 58-24.
Jack cited the bench squad’s defensive tenacity, which had sputtered as of late, forcing Hollins to play his starters extra minutes.
“I think it’s easy when we’re not playing out the net, allowing teams to shoot a high percentage. It allows us to flow that much better on the offensive end,” Jack said.
The Nets and the seventh-place Boston Celtics, who beat the Cavaliers on the road Friday night, are at 37-42, but the Celtics own the tie-breaker.
Brooklyn holds a one-game lead over the Indiana Pacers, who won at Detroit, and a two-game lead over the Miami Heat,, who had the night off.
Bogdanovic, who was feeling ill but still managed to tie a Nets rookie record by hitting each of his six 3s, admitted to keeping tabs on the race. Brooklyn plays at Milwaukee on Sunday before hosting the Chicago Bulls the following night. The Nets end the regular season when the Orlando Magic visit Wednesday.
“But we have to go game by game. We are in good position. We have to keep going and try to win all those games left,” he said.
Brooklyn led by as many as 27 points during the first half before the Wizards trimmed the lead. The Nets finished out the second quarter with a 54-38 lead.
After a pair of free throws by Gortat cut the Washington deficit to 72-62 with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter, Jack hit a jumper that sparked a 16-0 run that lapsed into the fourth quarter. Lopez capped it with a pair of free throws that increased the lead to 88-62.
Drew Gooden then stopped the drought with a pair of free throws before Brooklyn reeled off seven straight points that ballooned the lead to 95-63 on Lopez’s dunk.
Bradley Beal had 24 points and Marcin Gortat had a double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Wizards, whose four-game winning streak came to a halt.
The loss dropped them behind two games behind the Bulls for the fourth seed and home-court advantage in the first round.
“We’re trying to move up to get home court, but like I always say, it doesn’t matter if we have home court because it’s going to be tough regardless,” Beal said. “It’s embarrassing because this is a playoff team that just flat-out beat us, and we can’t do that three games away from the playoffs.”
Brooklyn had a season-high 29 assists on 45 made baskets. Joe Johnson and Deron Williams each had nine assists.
Wizards: All-Star point guard John Wall missed his second straight game to rest. . Nene, who missed the last three games due to a sore shoulder, played 19 minutes.
Nets: Alan Anderson missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. … The 14 points allowed in the first quarter were a season low by an opponent. . The 42 points in the fourth quarter were the most scored in any quarter this season.
Wizards: home against Atlanta on Sunday.
Nets: at Milwaukee on Sunday.
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