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Recap: Wizards close road trip with 112-110 win in Denver
FINAL: Wizards 112 | Nuggets 110
Wizards: Bradley Beal (33), Rui Hachimura (20), Russell Westbrook (16)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray (34), Nikola Jokic (24), Michael Porter Jr. (18)
The Wizards defeated the Nuggets 112-110 on Thursday night in Denver in the final outing of a four-game road trip. Bradley Beal led the way with 33 points and Russell Westbrook 16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. Jamal Murray scored a game-high 34 points to lead Denver.
With the win, Washington closes its four-game road trip 3-1 and has now won six of its last seven games dating back to February 14.
Both offenses struggled out of the gate. The Wizards, playing without sharpshooter Davis Bertans, started 1-9 (.111) from the field and the Nuggets 3-15 (.200). After trailing by five just a few minutes into the game, Bradley Beal went on a run to put Washington back on top. Beal scored nine of the Wizards’ first 13 points in the first quarter and capped a 9-0 run in the second quarter that put Washington ahead by 12 with just under six minutes left in the first half. The run was driven by the defense, which held Denver without a field goal for nearly four minutes of game time before Murray knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 19-7 Nuggets run. Denver returned the favor on defense, holding Washington without a field goal for over five minutes, but two Garrison Mathews threes in the final 1:19 of the second quarter gave the Wizards a two-point lead at the half. The Wizards are now 8-1 this season when leading at halftime.
The Nuggets’ offense shot 57.9% from the field and 66.7% from 3-point range in the third quarter, led by a combined 20 points from Murray and Nikola Jokic, but couldn’t turn the offensive success into a sizeable lead. The Wizards, propelled by 11 points on 5-7 (.714) shooting by Rui Hachimura, led for most of the third quarter before Murray tied the game at 86 apiece with 1:25 left in the frame. Hachimura finished with 20 points, his 10th consecutive game scoring double-digit points, extending the longest such streak of his career.
Murray scored two quick buckets to get the fourth quarter started, helping Denver jump out to a four-point lead. Washington kept things within reach, tying the game four times before finally taking the lead with 4:23 left in the game. After trading baskets for the final four minutes of the game, Denver had a chance to tie the game, down two points with less than a minute to go, but a strong defensive possession by Raul Neto and Robin Lopez against Murray and Jokic forced a miss. Denver got one more look on the following possession, but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
Neto makes a difference on both ends
Neto’s defense on Murray late in the game capped a standout performance from start to finish. With Bertans out of the lineup, the Wizards knew they would need someone to step up and help fill the void left by one of the Wizards’ most important reserves. While Neto doesn’t pose the same scoring threat as a player like Bertans, he managed to impact the game in just about every other way. In the first half alone, Neto scored just two points, but added two rebounds, three assists, three steals and was plus-nine in 14 minutes of action. His most remarkable play came on a deflection that he chased all the way down the court, tipped the ball inbounds to himself, reestablished himself and found a cutting Troy Brown Jr. for an open layup. In the second half, it was more of the same. He recorded a pair of steals, including one that he turned into another transition assist, this time to Beal. Neto finished with 15 points, two rebounds, four assists and five steals. His five steals set a new career high and a Wizards season high.
Westbrook ties Wizards’ triple-double record
In recording his ninth triple-double of the season, Westbrook tied the franchise record for most triple-doubles in a single season set by Darrell Walker in 1989-90. Westbrook entered the matchup with the Nuggets averaging 21.4 points, 12.0 rebounds and 11.8 assists in his last five games, a stretch that included a 12-point, 13-rebound, 13-assist triple-double against the Nuggets last week. Westbrook finished the night 6-17 (.352) from the field and knocked down his first 3-pointer since February 10, shooting 1-3 (.333) from deep. He entered the game against Denver having shot just once from three in each of the last three games, taking almost all of his attempts inside the arc.
Murray goes big again vs. Wizards
After scoring 35 points and hitting three 3-pointers in the final minutes to spark a comeback against the Wizards last week, Murray again led the way for Denver. In a game-high 41 minutes, Murray totaled 34 points, six rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks. His scoring was efficient, coming on 12-23 (.521) from the field and 6-11 (.545) from 3-point range. Much like his first meeting with the Wizards, Murray came up big in the fourth quarter, playing all 12 minutes and scoring 13 points.
NEXT UP: Timberwolves at Wizards / Saturday, February 27 / 7:00 P.M. / Capital One Arena
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT