With three other Brooklyn Nets starters joining Deron Williams in street clothes on Monday, it allowed some of the youngsters to take center stage.
And no one benefited more than Tornike Shengelia.
The 21-year-old Shengelia tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds in the Nets' 106-101 win over the Washington Wizards.
Shengelia, who had played just 67 minutes all season, got 25 minutes of playing time on Monday and his hustle provided the spark needed for Brooklyn to overcome a 17-point, first-quarter deficit.
Andray Blatche tallied 20 points and 12 boards, while the only regular starter in the lineup, Kris Humphries, recorded 20 points and nine rebounds for Brooklyn, which is locked into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"It's all about opportunity," Blatche said. "I felt a lot of the young guys showed they belong in the league."
John Wall registered 18 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Wizards, who have dropped five consecutive contests.
Shengelia's driving layup gave the Nets their first advantage, 95-94, with 4:57 left in the fourth. A bit later, he emphatically blocked Wall's layup attempt at the rim before he was fouled and split a pair of free throws on an offensive rebound attempt to knot the game at 96-96 with 3:20 to go.
Blatche's layup with 55.5 ticks remaining gave Brooklyn a 103-101 cushion, but he was unable to complete a three-point play. Cartier Martin missed a triple at the other end and Tyshawn Taylor's triple with 22 seconds left put the game away.
"I don't care if this is the second to last game or not, you've got to have a little bit of pride to play defense in the fourth quarter to win a game," Wizards head coach Randy Whitman.
Earlier, the Wizards jumped out to a 30-13 start before taking a 34-21 lead after a quarter of play and a 56-50 edge into the break. Washington took a 77-73 spread into the final frame.
Brooklyn netted 22 points off of 20 Washington turnovers ... The Nets held a 21-10 margin in second-chance points ... Trevor Booker finished with 16 points and 13 boards for the Wizards.