The hope of starting two post players in Nene and Marcin Gortat improving the Wizards' chances at rebounding and defending, two major weaknesses all season, didn't completely work.
The Wizards (20-24) had seven players score in double figures -- Garrett Temple (20 points), Bradley Beal (17 points), John Wall (17 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, four steals, two blocks), Nene (15 points, seven rebounds), Dudley (12 points), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Ramon Sessions (11 points) -- but couldn't overcome an 18-point deficit in Thursday's 117-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets.
They're 1-3 with two bigs starting, the only win coming last week in a matchup with the injury-depleted Miami Heat.
Denver (18-29) was led by Danilo Gallinari (26 points), rookie Emmanuel Mudiay (20 points) and Nikola Jokic (15 points, 10 rebounds).
After leading 64-58 at halftime, the Nuggets blew open the game with multiple easy baskets at the rim. Gallinari was 3 of 4 from three-point range in the third quarter.
- The Wizards made a run to erase an 18-point deficit with their three best players on the court when it comes to net rating, meaning the difference in points scored and allowed per 100 possessions according to the NBA's SVU cameras player tracking data -- Nene, Dudley and Temple. Nene was the only big on the floor when the run occurred as Gortat didn't play in the fourth.
- Beal, playing with a mask after missing the last game with a broken nose and concussion, didn't settle for long shots to avoid contact. Three of his first four baskets came in the paint.
- Otto Porter isn't 100%, playing though a tear in his right hip and recently missed four games because he re-aggravated it. And he's not pressing the issue offensively as evidenced by his one shot attempt in nine minutes of the first half. Porter's final output (0-for-3, two points) has to be greater with Beal not able to start again and so many other weapons on the bench in suits. Porter, however, might join them. He headed back to the locker room by the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter and didn't return. He lasted 15 minutes.
- Wall only had one turnover for most of the game, but then had two in the final five minutes when they had a chance to take the lead sooner. Missed foul shots by Wall and Beal didn't help either.
- When the Wizards went away from Drew Gooden (seven points) and to Dudley, the Nuggets picked on him by getting a few easy buckets for Darrell Arthur (13 points) in the post. Eventually though, Dudley's impact on both ends (four assists, four steals) won out. His activity creates open-court opportunities and allows others to make plays even if Dudley doesn't.