The Denver Nuggets came off a loss last night but hoped to turn the tables against the Washington Wizards tonight. It looked like things were going their way with Nikola Jokic dominating early. Unfortunately they gave up forty-six points in the second quarter and weren’t able to recover. Jamal Murray nearly took them all the way back in the closing minutes but a huge night from Davis Bertans, Bradley Beal and referee Dannica Mosher was enough to seal the deal. Nuggets drop another incredibly frustrating game, lose 130-128
The Nuggets had a boost to start the game with both Gary Harris and Monte Morris returning to the lineup. Their defense was strong to start and they built an early lead. The starters really did put in the work on defense and Jokic dominated everything the Wizards threw at him early on. By the midway point of the quarter the Nuggets were up by double digits. The bench kept the energy up as the quarter progressed and the Nuggets lead kept growing. By the time it was over the Nuggets lead had ballooned to seventeen.
The Nuggets offense stalled with the bench in to start the second which let the Wizards get on a run. Denver mustered just five points in the first three and a half minutes of the quarter while Bertans drained three after three. Michael Porter Jr got a couple buckets to bring some life to the Nuggets offense but the Wizards were still charging. Bertans nailed another three just past the halfway point. Denver was able to stop the bleeding but suddenly found themselves in a ball game trading shot for shot with Washington. To close out the quarter the Nuggets just flat out fell apart and gave up a 9-0 run, including a terrible defensive lapse to close the half. Washington came all the way back and led 70-64 after two.
After coach Michael Malone chucked a stationary bike in anger walking off at halftime the Nuggets got back at it. Their offense was trying to keep pace, but the defense was still suspect to say the least. Finally both teams hit sort of a rut near the midway point of the quarter but the Nuggets couldn’t close the gap. Jokic and Facundo Campazzo carried the offense for a bit while Westbrook kept things going for Washington. The game once again was turning into a painful case of Jokic doing everything and getting no support (outside of Murray and Campazzo). Denver’s bench hung on to close the quarter while Joker got a rest but after three the Nuggets still trailed by seven.
The Nuggets got refocused for the fourth and opened with a 5-0 run. They would get as close as one point behind before Bertans hit another three. He led a run on Washington’s side and they pushed back up by nine. That prompted Malone to bring back in the starters to stop the bleeding which they did but also didn’t close the gap. You could tell the team was tired. Bertans remained on fire, sunk a new career high ninth three and the air was coming out of Denver’s tires. The fact that they were getting a terrible whistle, including a blatant missed call on Westbrook being out of bounds that ended up in a Bertans three, didn’t help either. Denver had one last gasp in them with Porter and JaMychal Green hitting threes to pull the Nuggets within six with just under three minutes to go. They kept the pressure on to make it extremely tight in the final minutes. Murray continued to be left inexplicably open and tied it with a three with thirty seconds remaining. On the other end Bertans kicked his feet out and got the foul call and three free throws. He hit all of them but Murray responded with a three of his own with two seconds to go. Beal got a foul called with a tenth of a second left and hit both free throws. Nuggets lose.