wizards 119 nuggets 113
2/22/2013 - Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Rob Carr/NBAE/Getty Images
The Wizards never seem to make it easy for us folks. A 16-point lead was nearly squandered after the Nuggets opened up the final period outscoring the Wizards 25-12. The game seemed to be moving at a very comfortable pace after the Wizards went lockdown on defense, holding the Nuggets to only 14 points in the 3rd after scoring 64 in the first half. The Nuggets avenged their poor start of the second half with a 35 point 4th quarter rally, but John Wall put the clamps on a Denver comeback with a few clutch jumpers -- yes, jumpers -- that sealed a much needed victory for the Wizards.
The Wizards were well aware of Denver's knack for high-scoring affairs but still managed to allow Denver to score with relative ease in the first half. Fortunately, the Wizards were also shooting lights out at nearly 55%, which helped them maintain the lead for nearly the entire half before the Nuggets tied it at 64 at the break.
The Wizards were sharp defensively to start the 3rd quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first five minutes, a stretch in which Denver did not at all. Yes, the Nuggets were scoreless for nearly half of the period, while the Wizards remained in tune offensively, making their shots and getting to the free throw line. The Wizards outscored the Nuggets 30-14 in that 3rd period.
The Nuggets, being as good as they are, fought back in the 4th, converting on forced turnovers and slowly chipped away at the big lead, going on an 18-4 run to pull within four. But again, the Wizards made just enough plays to fend off the rally, and earned a well deserved victory at home, their 9th in 11 games.
With seven players in double figures and three with double-doubles, it's obvious the contributions came from just about everyone. But the nod for tonight's MVP goes to John Wall. His resilience down the stretch was truly admirable as John shrugged off a few late mishaps with a few late plays that helped the Wizards stamp the season sweep of the Nuggets. Wall hit two jump shots in the final three minutes, including the game-sealing dagger with 13 seconds left.
Wall did face a tough assignment in defending Ty Lawson, who dazzled with 27 points and 12 assists, althought most of those numbers came in the first half before Wall and the Wizards made their defensive adjustments.
Nene: Although his numbers don't show much, Nene was super active tonight. At times it seemed nothing was easy coming his way offensively or defensively. A lot of body contact was drawn down low when Nene attacked the rim and he was equally aggressive at the other end of the ball too. Nene finished with 14 points and four rebounds.
Kenneth Faried: The man they call the 'manimal' wasn't much of that tonight, enduring a pretty quiet night with only 23 minutes of play and six points to go with only four rebounds. Much of Faried's playing time was split with Corey Brewer and when he was on the floor, he was caught up in several mismatches caused by switches off screens.
Back to their successful ways. After a dud against the Raptors on Tuesday night, the Wizards went back to the drawing board hard and focused back on the things that lead to their recent success before the All-Star break. Ball movement, spacing, making the extra pass, shooting the ball well -- all of these things factored into tonight's victory. The Wizards were once again heavy in assists, racking up 27 of them on 42 made baskets.
Some of the game stats besides field goal percentage make it a bit tough to believe the Wizards actually won this game. For one, the Wizards allowed 25 points off 18 turnovers tonight including a few during the final minutes of the game that helped the Nuggets further close the gap on the lead. The Wizards were also outscored in the paint 60-42. Not to mention they scored only five points on fast breaks, something a fast-paced team like the Nuggets would usually feast on. Luckily, the Wizards shot the ball just well enough to overcome these shortcomings.
Bradley Beal took another spill against the Nuggets, this time walloping over AJ Price underneath the basket. Beal reamined on the floor for about a minute or so before being helped up. He eventually walked over to the bench on his own strength.