The Washington Wizards beat the Denver Nuggets 109-104 on Monday night at the Pepsi Center. Here's analysis of what went down.
Jokic bumped Brooks: A strange moment happened in the final minute that helped change the course of this game. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic bumped Wizards head coach Scott Brooks during a timeout, earning a technical foul with :32 seconds left. The Wizards were up just two points, but Bradley Beal hit a free throw and then a layup on the ensuing possession to give the Wizards a five-point lead and essentially seal the win.
Here is the play. It's not something you see very often:
Porter may be taking another leap: Otto Porter (17 points, 10 rebounds, four steals) was a standout in the first two games because of his hot starts and that continued on Monday. Porter came out rolling with 12 points in his first 15 minutes. He made it look easy with his midrange game, consistently knocking down 15 to 20 foot jumpers.
Porter clearly looks more assertive and confident, showing no hesitation particularly early in games. The Wizards saw John Wall and Bradley Beal quickly get much better after signing their max deals and Porter looks intent on following their lead. If he can achieve consistency in dropping 15+ points per game while doing all the things he already does, the Wizards could reach new heights.
Backup point guard a positive: Yeah, you read that right. For as much trouble as the Wizards have had solving the backup point guard position, all was right on Monday night. Tim Frazier had easily his best game since joining the Wizards after going scoreless in his first two outings. His first made shot as a member of the Wizards was a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter from about 35 feet out.
Frazier lit a spark with 10 points, so did Tomas Satoransky. After not playing in the Wizards' first two games, he checked in late in the second quarter and immediately hit a hook shot and a three. Satoransky is on the outside of the rotation looking in, but he made the most of a brief opportunity on this particular night.
Those two guys helped buoy Wall (19 points, 12 assists) and Beal (20 points, five rebounds). Any time pressure can be taken off of them is a good thing.
Jokic is legitimate: We don't see much of Nuggets center Jokic on the East Coast and he didn't score a single point in his last game before playing the Wizards, but on Monday Jokic showed that he is the real deal. The guy came out swinging with 12 points on 5-for-5 from the field in his first eight minutes. By halftime he had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. There are so many good, young big men these days that Jokic gets overlooked, but he does just about everything well. Jokic finished with 29 points in 35 minutes.
Smith still out: Jason Smith didn't play in this one as he missed his second straight game with a sprained right shoulder. Considering Markieff Morris (sports hernia surgery) is also out, meaning the Wizards are missing both of their power forwards, this undefeated start is no small feat. The Wizards are 3-0 for the fourth time in team history and the first time since 2005. The other two times they did so were the 1978-79 season and the 1974-75 season. Both of those years they lost in the NBA Finals. Thanks to a Raptors loss on Monday, the Wizards are the only remaining undefeated team in the East.
Up next: The Wizards move on to Los Angeles to play the Lakers at the Staples Center. That means Wall vs. Lonzo Ball. The game tips at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
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