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Recap: Bertans scores career-high 35, leads Wizards in 130-128 win over Nuggets
FINAL: Wizards 130 | Nuggets 128
Wizards: Davis Bertans (35), Bradley Beal (25), Rui Hachimura (14), Raul Neto (14)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray (35), Nikola Jokic (33), Facundo Campazzo (14), Michael Porter Jr. (14)
Led by a career-high 35 points from Davis Bertans, the Wizards earned their third consecutive win, defeating the Nuggets 130-128 in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. Bertans finished the night 9-11 (.818) from deep, setting a new career high in threes and becoming just the third player in team history to hit nine threes in a game.
“We had great ball-movement, guys gave me a couple good looks in the beginning and when those shots went down, from there it just keeps going,” Bertans said postgame. “They start looking for me even more, running more plays for me and I’m just taking advantage of that. When the shot is falling, sometimes there’s not much the defense can do.”
After Washington led by nine points with just over three minutes left in the game, Denver’s Jamal Murray hit three triples in the final 1:59 to erase the Wizards’ advantage. Tied with 2.1 seconds remaining, Bradley Beal found a lane to the basket, drew a foul and knocked down both free throws with 0.1 seconds on the clock to seal the win. Beal finished with 25 points, 10 assists and four rebounds.
Nikola Jokic dominated the opening frame, totaling 15 points on 6-6 (1.000) from the field and three assists, to give the Nuggets an early 20-point lead, but Bertans put an end to the Denver run early in the second quarter. Bertans started the night 5-5 (1.000) from 3-point range to lead a 31-11 Wizards run to tie the game at 52 with 4:43 left in the first half. The resurgent Wizards weren’t done there. After falling behind 62-58 two minutes later, the team closed the first half on a 12-2 run and led by six at halftime. In total, the Wizards scored 46 points in the second quarter, shooting 14-22 (.636) from the field, 5-8 (.625) from 3-point range and 13-15 (.867) from the free throw line. Beal and Bertans combined for 26 points. Washington’s 46 points fell just two points shy of their single-quarter season high, set in the fourth quarter of the team’s matchup with Brooklyn in late January. After Jokic started the game with six consecutive makes, the Wizards held him to two points on 1-6 (.166) from the field in the second quarter.
The Wizards stayed hot coming out of halftime, scoring 30 points on 57.9% shooting in the third quarter, but struggled to keep the Nuggets in check. Denver shot 55.6% from the field and held within striking distance heading into the fourth. After Denver cut the lead to one with 10:36 left in the game, the Wizards went on a 19-7 run to open a 13-point lead with under five minutes. Shortly thereafter, Denver began to chip away at the margin, setting up the dramatic final minutes.
The Wizards and Nuggets will meet again in just eight days in Denver.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Bertans’ historic 3-point performance
Bertans joined Beal (9) and Trevor Ariza (10) as the only players in team history to hit at least nine threes in a game. Among the three, Bertans’ 9-11 (.818) shooting clip was the most efficient. He did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, when the Wizards needed it most, scoring 12 points in the second quarter to drive the Washington comeback and 15 points in the fourth in an attempt to fend off the Nuggets’ late run. In setting a new career high for points in a game (35), Bertans finished one point shy of the Wizards’ record for points off the bench.
“When he does have games like this, you just keep feeding him,” Beal said of Bertans postgame. “Keep giving him the ball. He’s always going to shoot it, whether he’s 0-50 or 50-50, he’s going to shoot – and that’s what we want him to do.”
Westbrook climbs Wizards’ triple-double list
Westbrook recorded his second consecutive triple double, totaling 12 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists against the Nuggets, giving him seven triple-doubles on the season. Despite having played in just 19 games this year, Westbrook is now tied with John Wall and Wes Unseld for second on the franchise’s all-time triple-doubles list. Westbrook needs eight more triple-doubles this season to tie Darrell Walker for the franchise’s all-time record. He recorded seven of his 12 assists during Washington’s comeback in the second quarter and has now gone four games in a row totaling double-digit assists.
Jokic and Murray score 68 to lead Nuggets
The standout offensive performances were present on both sides Wednesday night. While Bertans, Beal and Westbrook led the way for the Wizards, Denver’s star duo of Jokic and Murray combined for 68 points for the Nuggets. Jokic and Murray took 46 of the Nuggets’ 92 shots and were a combined 54.3% from the field. Fueled by his flurry of threes in the final minutes of the game, Murray totaled 19 points of his 35 points in the fourth quarter alone, shooting 6-9 (.667) from the field, 4-5 (.800) from three and 3-3 (1.000) from the free throw line while playing all 12 minutes of the final frame. In addition to his 33 points, Jokic added seven rebounds and nine assists.
NEXT UP: Wizards at Trail Blazers / Saturday, February 20 / 10:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
RUSS STEAL— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 18, 2021
RUI SLAM pic.twitter.com/XDEXc1SdRu