Wizards get offensive, blister Nuggets woeful defense

Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- For the Nuggets at home, "D" might stand for Denver. Against the Wizards this season and specifically on the road lately, it certainly does not stand for defense.
Emeka Okafor had 17 points and 13 rebounds, John Wall and Bradley Beal also recorded double-doubles and seven Wizards scored in double figures as Washington swept the season series from the Denver Nuggets with a 119-113 win on Friday night.
Beal finished with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, and Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, for the Wizards (16-37), who snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the ninth time in their last 11 home games.
Trevor Ariza scored 16 points, Martell Webster 15 and Nene had 14 as Washington never trailed.
Ty Lawson had 27 points and 12 assists, and Wilson Chandler tallied 22 for the Nuggets (34-22), who have dropped four of their last five games.
All four losses have come on the road and during the road skid, Denver is allowing 116 points per game.
"I'm not going to overreact because I think our team has played well," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I just think we have to be more focused and more disciplined to be a defensive team rather than try to outscore people."
Denver unquestionably did not outscore Washington early in the third quarter. After ending the first half tied at 64-64, Nene's hook shot sparked a 13-0 run as the Wizards held the Nuggets without a point for more than five minutes.
The Nuggets surged back following an 18-4 spurt and trailed 102-98 with 6:09 left.
Lawson's free throws made it 113-111 with 1:07 remaining.
After Wall missed a jumper, Nene blocked Lawson's game-tying layup attempt. Wall then redeemed himself by sinking a 19-foot jumper with 13.7 seconds remaining.
A.J. Price had 12 for the Wizards, who had their second-highest scoring game of the season.
JaVale McGee, sent to Denver for Nene in a midseason deal last year, finished with nine points in his first game back in Washington. The agile but spacey 7-footer received a smattering of boos from the crowd of 16,527.
"For some reason I have a selective memory so I remember the stuff I want to remember so it wasn't like I was having flashback or stuff like that, so it wasn't bad," McGee said.
Washington won the first meeting 112-108 at Denver on Jan. 18.
"For our group to beat these guys twice is an accomplishment for our guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Wittman called his team's defense "nonexistent tonight," though he credited a lockdown stretch immediately after halftime with changing the game.
"We got four straight stops coming out of the third quarter," Wittman said. "I thought our intensity picked up from that defensive standpoint. We outscore them 30-14 in that quarter and kind of take control of the game."
Three-point shooting also proved vital. The Wizards made 10 of 20 through three quarters and 11 overall while the Nuggets finished 4 of 22 from beyond the arc. Lawson missed all six of his attempts.
"On the road we're just not a very good defensive team," Karl said. "Statistically we give up the 3-ball. We don't shoot it very well, but we give up the 3-ball and we give up too many points."
Andre Miller matched his season-high with 19 points and Corey Brewer had 12 for the Nuggets.
The teams executed a point-producing first half reminiscent of the NBA's high-scoring days. Washington both scored and surrendered season-high totals.
Each side shot more than 51 percent from the field in the fast-paced half. Denver never led and trailed 49-39 as Price made four from beyond the arc for Washington, but rallied behind Lawson's 16 points.
Garrett Temple's 3-point play closing the third quarter scoring put the Wizards ahead, 94-78. Ariza's free throw with 11 minutes remaining gave the Wizards their largest lead at 98-80.
NOTES: Lawson scored 56 points in two games against the Wizards. ... Washington played its first game after trading third-leading scorer Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics before Thursday's league trading deadline. ... Center Jason Collins, acquired from the Boston Celtics with injured guard Leandro Barbosa, will join the Wizards for Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets. Barbosa will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left ACL, which occurred on Feb. 11 at the Charlotte Bobcats. ... The Nuggets passed on making a deadline deal "It coincides with the philosophy of this season," Karl said. "This team we put together, see how it would do. I think it's done well enough to keep it together." ... Entering the game, Washington held its last 11 opponents to under 100 points. ... Denver closes its two-game road swing Saturday at Charlotte.

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