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Balanced Wizards edge slumping Nuggets
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Bradley Beal and Emeka Okafor led seven Washington players in double-figures as the Wizards used a balanced attack to take down the struggling Denver Nuggets, 119-113, on Friday at Verizon Center.
Beal and Okafor each netted 17 points, while Okafor grabbed 13 rebounds and Beal had 12 boards and four assists for the Wizards, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, while John Wall added a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists in the victory.
"Getting back to being who we are," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "You know, 27 assists, that's what this team has to do. Moving the ball side to side, attacking off the dribble, making the extra pass, playing inside out. We got back to that tonight for the first time over the last two games."
Ty Lawson had a game-high 27 points and 12 assists and Wilson Chandler registered 22 points for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their last five games.
The Nuggets had the ball down two points with 40 seconds left and counting as Lawson drove to the hoop. Nene, though, blocked his attempt from behind before the ball appeared to corral off of a Nuggets defender to give the home team another possession. The play was briefly reviewed via video, before the call was confirmed.
After leading by as many as 18 points just 1:15 into the final quarter of play, the Wizards hit a cold streak, while the Nuggets scrapped their way back with a 23-8 flurry to get within 106-103 with four minutes to play.
Ariza's trey with 1:43 to play put the Wizards up six and really forced the Nuggets to scramble.
"I'm a little concerned," Denver coach George Karl said, "that we don't respect the opponent on the road enough to think defense first and then worry about offense, because offense usually happens when we play defense."
Wall's jumper with 13.7 seconds remaining increased Washington's lead to four points. The Nuggets, however, were forced to foul and Washington made 4-of-4 from the free throw line, in between a Lawson layup, to secure the victory.
The Wizards led after one quarter of play, 33-28. The edge grew to 49-39 around the midway point of the second, before the visitors fought back to enter halftime tied up.
Washington broke open the contest to start the second half after things were knotted up 64-64 at the break. Okafor's layup with 7:14 left in the stanza capped a 13-0 surge to make it 77-64. Denver had five turnovers during the stretch and failed to score a basket until the 6:39 mark.
The visitors got within six points with four minutes to play in the third, however, the Wizards' weren't done yet, as they closed the quarter on a 14-5 swing to take a 94-78 edge into the fourth.
The Wizards won first meeting, 112-108, on Jan. 18 in Denver ... A.J. Price had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc in the first half ... Nene chipped in 14 points ... Denver has a four-game road losing streak ... The Wizards had held opponents to under 100 points in their previous 11 games.
02/23 00:05:41 ET
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