WASHINGTON — That’s how you hide a 10-game losing streak.
The Nets’ 113-112 defeat in Washington extended the longest skid in the NBA, but all anybody wanted to talk about was the James Harden-Ben Simmons megatrade that completely overshadowed a backup-filled contest on the court.
With both teams depleted by huge moves at the deadline — the Wizards were already without injured Bradley Beal and dealt Spencer Dinwiddie for Kristaps Porzingis — the evening had a Las Vegas Summer League feel.
Brooklyn broke up the Big 3 of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving after only 16 games together, just two of them this season. With Harden gone and Durant hurt, Irving was the last star standing. He poured in a game-high 31 points, while rookie first-round pick Cam Thomas added 27 points.
Kyrie Irving had a game-high 31 points. USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t enough.
“We didn’t get enough stops. The defense was not good enough. That’s the bottom line. Without going into too many details, we’ve got to defend better,” coach Steve Nash said. “We started the game pretty good down there and then gave up too many points.”
Washington’s Kyle Kuzma had his first career triple-double with 15 points, 13 boards and 10 assists. Raul Neto scored a season-high 21 points in his first start of the season for Washington.
Irving went scoreless in the third quarter, and that’s when Brooklyn fell behind for good.
The Nets surrendered a 13-0 run late in the period to fall behind 89-78, and got what had been a flat crowd actually tasting victory.
A Thomas Bryant corner 3-pointer to beat the shot clock put the Nets in a 100-87 hole midway through the fourth. Irving tried to lead them back with 14 points in the final period, but it was too late.
Thomas’ potential tying 3 ended up an airball, and Blake Griffin could only hit a putback that was purely cosmetic.
The Nets fell to 4-9 with Irving since his Jan. 5 return, dropping their last seven straight with him in the lineup. …center Nic Claxton (left hamstring), center LaMarcus Aldridge (left ankle), Durant (left MCL) and Joe Harris (left ankle surgery) were all out.