The MVP chants were sporadic but were as cruel as ever. The Wizards dropped their fifth game in a row, a 127-109 loss to the Nuggets, at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night.
In the middle of the loss was yet another game for Washington where an opposing team’s player was a true dominant force throughout the night, as Nikola Jokic made himself heard loud and clear on the floor with 29 points. In the stands, a vocal group of Denver supporters made themselves heard, too, with a few renditions of chanting “MVP” whenever Jokic went to the free throw line.
Washington’s deficit never felt in danger of getting trimmed down, as it fell to 29-39 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the night:
A continuing skid
The loss was the Wizards’ fifth in a row, which is now their second-longest of the season as they fell to 10 games below .500 on the season with just 14 games left to play.
They’ve also lost eight of their last 10 games as they’ve fallen further and further down the Eastern Conference standings in recent weeks. They entered the night four games out of the 10th spot in the conference and now, they’re almost out of time to do something about it.
The Wizards also fell to 6-13 without Bradley Beal, who is out with a wrist injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
The MVP chants and cheers throughout the night weren't far off, as the Wizards got their second look at Jokic this season. And like the first matchup where he scored 28 points, he was a nightmare to try and slow down once again.
Jokic ended the night with 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in just over 26 minutes on the floor as the Wizards struggled to contain a league MVP candidates on a night where not a ton went right for the Wizards. Seven players scored in double figures for the Nuggets, but it was Jokic that led the way.
Washington's streak of allowing a 40-point scorer ended at three games, but it didn't end gracefully.
The Nuggets dominated the first half and jumped out to a 73-52 lead at the break on the back of a stellar 3-point shooting half. They went 26-of-46 from the field, including 8-of-16 from deep, as they led by a huge margin after two quarters. Jokic had 17 points and nine rebounds at the break, but he wasn’t the only problem for the Wizards.
Austin Rivers and Aaron Gordon both added 10 points each, as Monte Morris and Bryn Forbes went a combined 4-of-8 from 3-point territory.
The Wizards couldn’t match the Nuggets’ 3-point prowess and they didn’t even come close. They shot just 2-of-16 (12.5%) from 3-point territory as the Nuggets used that advantage to take a massive lead they wouldn’t ever relinquish.
It doesn’t take too long of a look at the box score to figure out a big reason for why Wednesday’s game went off the rails for the Wizards.
They ended the night having shot just 21.7% from deep (5-of-21) compared to the Nuggets’ 40.5% (15-of-37), a difference that got closer to one another once the game was already decided. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Wizards from beyond the arc with a 2-of-5 performance, but there wasn't much else to speak of. It was also the eighth consecutive game the Wizards allowed 113 points or more.
On the other end of the floor, Morris went 3-of-6, Forbes went 3-of-7 and Jokic was perfect (2-for-2) from behind the arc as the Wizards were outscored 45-15 on 3-point shots.