Brooklyn trailed by as many as 14 points in the opening quarter and was behind 30-25 after the first quarter. Harden opened the second quarter by scoring the first nine points and the Nets never trailed again.
The Nets led 63-56 at halftime. The Wizards pulled within four on Len’s dunk with just over 8 minutes left in the third quarter, but a 9-1 run punctuated by Harden’s short jumper put the Nets up 82-70.
Griffin scored his only points of the game on a driving dunk to open the final quarter as the Nets extended their advantage to 99-88.
“I knew once it happened it was going to be a thing so I tried not to look down at the bench,” Griffin said. “But then I kind of peeked and saw everyone standing up, so it was hard not to smile in that situation. It felt good to just get that out of the way.”
In 15 minutes, Griffin also added two rebounds and a block.
“It was great to be back out there,” Griffin added. “I felt like it was a good start, but I’ve got some room to improve obviously.”
Wizards: Despite the loss, Washington took the season series 2-1, defeating the Nets 123-122 on Jan. 3 and 149-146 on Jan. 31. The Wizards also won last year’s series 2-1, the first time they have come out on top in consecutive seasons since 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Nets: Since losing to Detroit on Feb. 9, the Nets have the best record in the NBA (15-2). … Griffin had not played since Feb. 12, when he totaled 12 points, four rebounds and six assists in his final game with the Pistons in a 108-102 loss at Boston.
LAST MEN STANDING
Harris is the only member of the Nets to have played in each of the team’s 43 games this season. He has also started the most (39). Robin Lopez, who scored 10 points, is the only Washington player to see action in each of his team’s 41 games, only nine as a starter.
A total of 16 Wizards have started at least one game this season. Cassius Winston and Troy Brown Jr. were the only active players on Sunday’s roster who have not started a game for the team. The Nets have used 14 different starters this season, with no combination starting more than four consecutive games together. Brooklyn has used a league-high 21 starting lineups.
Wizards: Washington visits New York on Tuesday and Thursday.
Nets: Brooklyn visits Portland on Tuesday to begin a three-game road trip.