JOHN WALL NAMED ALL-STAR AS WIZARDS LOSE THIRD IN A ROW AND FIFTH OF SIX
Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points, including four 3-pointers, and the Denver Nuggets held off the Washington Wizards 117-113 on Thursday night at Verizon Center.
The Nuggets made 50 percent (9 of 18) from beyond the arc, handing the Wizards yet another close loss at home. Emmanuel Mudiay scored 20 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points with 10 rebounds, and Will Barton added 15.
The Wizards (20-24) were led by Garrett Temple with 20 points. John Wall had 17 points with nine assists and seven rebounds, Bradley Beal had 17 points, and Nene added 15 points and seven boards. Marcin Gortat finished with had 12 points and 10 rebounds, his 22nd double-double of the season.
Denver started with a 10-2 run right off the opening tip and the Wizards were forced to play catch-up all night long.
The Wizards erased a 12-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t finish.
Down 91-79 to start the fourth quarter, Washington used an 8-2 run to close to within six at 93-87 with 10:45 left on Jared Dudley’s running layup. A six-point spurt, capped by Dudley’s jumper with 7:34 to go cut it to two, 97-95, and Ramon Sessions’ 3-point play with 5:41 left tied it at 99.
But Gallinari responded on the next possession with a 3-pointer, and a few moments later got loose for another one.
A 3 by Temple, and 1 of 2 at the line from Wall, made it a two-point game again with 1:53. But Gallinari hit a fadeaway and Mudiay hit a pair from the line to make it 111-105.
Beal’s free throws with 12.5 seconds to go cut it to four at 113-109, but Gallinari and Barton both made a pair from the line and the Wizards ran out of time.
Coach Randy Wittman asked and answered his own questions at the press conference afterward.
“What was it 10-2 a minute and a half in? Coming out of the locker room we lost it. We dig ourselves a hole before we come out and playing the way we’re capable of defensively. We are down 18 and come all the way back, or down 11 and come all the way back and we are waiting until the point of being embarrassed before we start playing hard from a defensive standpoint. We aren’t going to outscore anybody and until we take playing defense as first priority, were going to continue having nights like this.”
Beal lamented the wasted comeback.
“It’s always tough, we spend a great amount of energy coming back but it’s unfortunate because you just run out of gas and you spend all your time, energy, and focus on getting back from being down by 18 but we shouldn’t have been in that position from the get-go.”
NEXT GAME: Saturday at Houston at 8 p.m. Eastern