Friday, January 18, 2013

Wizards Edge Nuggets

After losing a close game to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, the Wizards continued their road trip, stopping in the mile-high city to take on the 24-17 Denver Nuggets. Denver has slowly become a formidable Western Conference team, completely reshaping their roster since the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011, relying on star guard Andre Iguodala to be the cornerstone of a young team.

For Nene, it was the first visit back to Denver since being dealt to the Wizards midway through last season, and for Javale McGee, whom Washington had let go of in exchange for the Brazilian big man, it was an opportunity to show the organization that traded him away how much his game had progressed in the past year.

Washington scored the first 6 points of the game, but was not able to maintain any kind of lead with the score tied at 19 at the end of the 1st quarter. Denver was able to narrowly outscore the Wizards in the 2nd quarter 31-26, for a halftime lead of 50-45.

The Nuggets began to create some separation after the half, stretching their lead to ten at 80-70 with 3:19 left in the 3rd quarter, but the Wizards were able to hang around, trailing 87-80 going into the 4th. The Wizards came storming back in the 4th quarter, going on 10-0 run, and taking a 90-87 lead on a Jordan Crawford three-pointer with 10:18 left in the game. The Wizards had a scary moment with 2:30 left in the game, as Kosta Koufos fouled Bradley Beal hard on a dunk attempt. Beal seemed to get the air knocked out of him, but stayed in the game and hit two free throws, giving the Wizards a 104-99 lead.

Wizards guard Bradley Beal fights for the ball with Nuggets guard Ty Lawson
 With 28.9 seconds left and the Wizards up 106-104, Trevor Ariza missed a three-point attempt  that was followed with a put back by Kevin Seraphin to put the Wizards up by 4. Andre Miller responded for Denver, converting a driving layup, and drawing the foul on Nene to cut the Wizards lead to 2, but missed the free throw, turning the ball back over to Washington. Jordan Crawford was then fouled by Kosta Koufos, but made only 1 of 2 free throws, giving Washington a 109-106 lead with 21.6 seconds remaining. Denver went for an easy 2 off the in-bound, as Andre Miller delivered another layup to cut the lead to 1 with 13.6 seconds left. Beal was fouled by Andre Iguodala with 8.6 seconds left, and made 1 of 2 free throws to put the Wizards up 110-108.

Denver had one more chance to tie or take the lead, but Ty Lawson was blocked on a drive to the basket by John Wall, who was then fouled by Koufos. Wall made two free throws to secure a 112-108 victory over Denver. It was Washington's first win at the Pepsi Center since 2005.

The Wizards were led by Bradley Beal with 23 points on 8-13 shooting from the field, and Kevin Seraphin with 18 points and 7 boards. Denver was led by Clinton, MD native Ty Lawson, who finished with 29 points, 23 of them coming in his monster 3rd quarter.

The Wizards will head to Los Angeles tomorrow to take on the Clippers.