Nuggets slip past Wizards

Nuggets slip past Wizards
January 21, 2012, 2:45 am
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Washington To be sure there were critical possessions late that the Wizards did not take full advantage of , but its hard to find fault in their approach against the Denver Nuggets. The Wizards scored points and limited turnovers. Still the Nuggets found a way to a 108-104 win.

Al Harrington can take much of the credit for ruining the Wizards encore to their win over the Thunder on Wednesday. Harrington came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points and delivered the knockout blow by ending a ragged possession with a three-pointer from the edge of the center circle.

Down 100-98, the Wizards appeared to have made the critical stop. John Wall denied a driving Andre Miller, but the Nuggets Danilo Galinari, collected the loose ball and was able to find Harrington who scored as the shot clock expired. It gave the Nuggets a 103-98 lead with 1:14 left. Galinari and Ty Lawson each contributed 21 points.

Harrington killed us, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. We have a great defensive sequence and they throw it out to him at 30-feet and he just throws it up there at the buzzer and it goes on. But I cant fault our effort. I thought we played hard and we did some positive things and we are playing better than we were a week ago.

The Nuggets lead the NBA in steals and fast break points. They are the second highest scoring team in the NBA behind Miami. Yet there were the Wizards stride for stride with the Nuggets. The Wizards only had 11 turnovers and they had 11 steals to the Nuggets six. Fast break points were close with the Nuggets holding a 23-18 edge.

Nick Young led the Wizards with 25 points and Wall flirted with a triple-double by posting 13 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. In fact the Wizards exhibited some of their best ball movement of the season. The Wizards had 28 assists including 19 at half-time when they had a 63-61 lead.

Indeed the Wizards were able to keep up with the Nuggets scoring. In the first quarter the Wizards scored a season high 37 points, the most in any quarter this season, and led 37-27. The Wizards were 5 of 7 from three-point distance in the first quarter and by Wizards standards this season finished a stunning 11 of 26 beyond the arc.

They built a team with guys that can knock down threes, Saunders said of the Nuggets, who were 10 of 21 in three-point shooting. Sometimes we took some quick threes late when we didnt need to and we kind of got caught up in their game.

The Wizards received support from the bench. Shelvin Mack turned in an impressive performance with 9 and 5 assists in 9:34 on the court. Jordan Crawford added 18 points and Rahsard Lewis 10 points to help the Wizards compete with the Nuggets.