Mikal Bridges scores 21 as Nets beat Wizards, 124-97

NEW YORK — There is a reason why Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn was intent on not overlooking the Washington Wizards.

After winning one of the most seesaw contests in NBA history on Wednesday night in Atlanta, Friday’s Eastern Conference matchup at Barclays Center had all the makings of a trap game for Brooklyn, who entered the night as winners of five of their last six.

Wes Unseld Jr.’s squad showed up ready to play. Washington kept it competitive for about three and a half quarters until Brooklyn decided to stop messing around. A 90-71 game entering the final frame, the Nets kept their feet on the gas and cruised to a 124-97 win.

Up 23 points with 4:57 left in regulation, Harry Giles III, who had not appeared in a game since Nov. 19, got to finish the game with Cam Thomas while starters Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Nic Claxton and Spencer Dinwiddie watched from the bench after a job well done.

The Nets (12-9) have now won three straight games for the third time this season. They will begin a five-game West Coast swing next week, starting on Monday in Sacramento.

Bridges finished with a game high 21 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kyle Kuzma had a team high 17 points for Washington, which committed 15 turnovers in the loss resulting in 20 points for the Nets.

The Nets won the glass 55-41 and dominated the paint 76-56.

Offense was hard to come by early for Brooklyn, similar to its game in Atlanta on Wednesday. The team started 3 of 18 from 3-point range, finished 10 of 33 and still managed to shoot 48.1% from the field for the game. But Thomas, Johnson, Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale were a combined 20 of 52 from the field.

However, the Nets were able to pull away in the third quarter thanks in large part to Thomas heating up at the expense of Washington’s Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert. After entering the period with just seven points on 3-of-9 shooting, the 22-year-old rattled off 10 points on a 4-of-8 clip to help Brooklyn create separation.

Thomas, now four games removed from a nine-game injury absence, is shooting 38.3% from the field across his four appearances.

If any Nets player deserves his flowers after Friday’s win, it is Day’Ron Sharpe, who contributed 15 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes off the bench — his best performance of the season by far.