Unlike in previous games this season when the Wizards have been guilty of coming out flat against an undermanned opponent, they toyed with the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center 123-113 to keep the pressure on for the No. 2 seed in the East.
The Wizards (39-24) won their second game in a row to start a five-game road trip out West. They won the first game of the back-to-back on Tuesday at the Phoenix Suns.
John Wall (30 points, 10 assists) led all scorers followed by Bradley Beal (23 points, five assists), Otto Porter (22 points, four steals), Markieff Morris (11 points) and Marcin Gortat (11 points, 15 rebounds) with his 34th double-double. It was his first in five games.
They sweep the season series 2-0 with Denver (29-35), which was playing without two of their best players in Nikola Jokic (flu) and Danilo Gallinari (vertigo).
They hung close until the Wizards pulled away at the end of the first quarter. Only up 29-28, the Wizards closed with a 6-0 run behind steals from Bojan Bogdanovic (10 points) and Brandon Jennings (four points, six assists) for easy buckets.
The Nuggets trimmed an 11-point deficit to 42-39 midway through the second quarter but a 25-11 run effectively put the game away though they’d make another push to end the third and again in the fourth.
The Wizards will be off Thursday before playing another back-to-back set Friday at the Sacramento Kings and Saturday at the Portland Trail Blazers.
Wilson Chandler (21 points) and Gary Harris (26 points) led the Nuggets. Jamal Murray (17 points) sparked them off the bench with his three-point range.
--A 35-point third quarter allowed Denver to trim a 24-point deficit to 97-85 entering the fourth though Wall played all 12 minutes. But Jennings, Bogdanovic and Ian Mahinmi (seven points, four rebounds) stretched it back to 16 with 8:12 to play.
--In Washington’s first seven sets of back-to-back games, they were 0-2, 1-1 (five times) and 0-2. With this win, they’ve now gone 2-0 in four consecutive back-to-back sets.
--Morris, Porter and Gortat only combined for five field goals and 14 points in the previous game. Morris made 3 of 3 while Porter shot 10-for-15 and Gortat 5-for-10. Porter had made just one three-pointer in his previous two games. He shot 2-for-3 to maintain his spot as the league’s most accurate shooter from distance. The last one at 53.7 seconds left put the lead to 119-108 to seal it.
--Chandler got the first field goal for the Nuggets on a busted coverage. While Gortat rotated properly to the ball, Morris also went to the ball which left Chandler alone under the rim. It represented a continuation of confusion on coverages that almost came back to bite them after blowing a 22-point lead in Phoenix.
--With 5:05 left and the lead down to 108-97 for Washington, coach Scott Brooks had to go back to his starting five rather than keep them under 30 minutes. Only Morris stayed below (26 minutes).
--Morris was ejected because of a Flagrant 2 with 2:08 left on Mason Plumlee. Morris was stripped of the ball as he went up to shoot and struck Plumlee between the legs. The play initially wasn’t going to reviewed but when head official Marc Davis did so it resulted in the ejection.
--Coming off 17 points in his last game, Jason Smith didn’t make an appearance.