Nuggets Hold Off Wizards in 105-102 Victory
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DENVER — Kenneth Faried had 20 points and Aaron Brooks hit four straight free throws in the final 12 seconds, helping the injury-riddled Denver Nuggets hold off the Washington Wizards 105-102 on Sunday night.
Randy Foye added 17 for a Nuggets team that was missing J.J. Hickson, who suffered torn ligament in his right knee on Friday. Wilson Chandler also didn’t play (strained left hip) and Jan Vesely didn’t return after bruising his rib cage late in the third quarter.
Bradley Beal wound up with 21 points as the Wizards wrapped up a four-game road swing with a 1-3 record. Trevor Ariza scored 15 of his 18 points in the first quarter and John Wall added 15, but also had eight turnovers.
Evan Fournier’s floating jumper with 7:36 remaining started a 7-0 run to give the Nuggets a 91-84 lead, which they wouldn’t relinquish. Wall struggled down the stretch, turning the ball over twice in the five minutes on offensive charges.
But Wall had a steal and a layup with 12.6 seconds remaining to cut Denver’s lead to 99-97. Brooks then stepped up to the line and hit two free throws.
Beal followed with a dunk when the Nuggets fell asleep on an in-bounds pass with 10.7 seconds remaining. Brooks was then fouled and hit two more free throws to seal Denver’s fifth straight home win.
The Wizards led by as many as 14 points in the first half, only to squander it away. Ariza put the Wizards up 49-47 at halftime when he hit a 20-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Hickson was the latest player to be lost by the Nuggets. They were already without Danilo Gallinari (left ACL), JaVale McGee (broken tibia) and Nate Robinson (left ACL), who all have undergone season-ending operations.
Vesely was having one of his best games of the season, before leaving the court late in the third quarter with a bruised rib cage. He had 10 points in 15 minutes.
Andre Miller made his return to the Pepsi Center for the first time since New Year’s Day, when he got into an on-court confrontation with former coach Brian Shaw.
Miller, now a backup guard with the Wizards, was originally suspended by the Nuggets, but it was later rescinded. Miller stayed away from the squad until he was dealt to the Wizards on Feb. 20.
Both Miller and Shaw said before the game they’ve moved on from the incident. To show it, they shook hands when Miller entered the game to start the second quarter.
“I’m sure both of us didn’t take this personal,” Shaw said. “It’s unfortunate that it had to happen and neither one of us wanted that to happen but I don’t have a problem with him. I have the most respect for Andre Miller.”
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