Wizards' Mile High stunner

Wizards' Mile High stunner
January 19, 2013, 12:30 am
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Nuggets Wizards Highlights

The Wizards entered Denver having lost 15 of 16 road games including a heartbreaker at Sacramento in the opening game of their current five-game road swing.

They had not won the Mile High City since 2005 and the Nuggets owned the second-best home record in the NBA.

In the first half Washington played arguably its worst half over the last four games and trailed by seven entering the fourth after Denver's Ty Lawson scored 23 points alone in the third.

Then came the final 12 minutes, then came back the Washington Wizards.

The Wizards (8-29) started the final quarter on a 12-0 run and kept the momentum going. Kevin Seraphin scored 14 in the fourth and John Wall blocked Lawson's attempted game-tying shot in the final seconds before sinking the clinching free throws in a thrilling 112-108 win.

Bradley Beal paced six double figure scorers with 23 points and Wall had 14 points - eight in the fourth - and 12 assists in 26 minutes.

Even though the Wizards had won three of their previous four games, this triumph might stand as their most satisfying considering this one came away from the Verizon Center; came against a team that was one game removed from a six-game winning streak; and the whole House of Horrors thing.

Then there is this: the Wizards made plays down the stretch. They never relinquished the lead after the early quarter spurt put them ahead of the Nuggets (24-18) 92-87. Seraphin's putback of a Trevor Ariza missed 3-pointer gave Washington a 108-104 lead with 29 seconds left.

Jordan Crawford and Bradley each split a pair of free throws and the Wizards led 110-108 with 8.6 seconds left. With Lawson driving down the right wing on the following possession, Wall freelanced defensively, raced across the lane, soared high for a block and came up with the loose ball. Fouled on the recovery, he made his free throws for points seven and eight in the quarter. The win was clinched and the celebrating began.

Over the last five games this team has shows signs of what it can do - and when factoring in conditioning with just returning players, the Wizards are not fully healthy. Then again - and no offense to the injured Cartier Martin-, but with Jordan Crawford and Trevor Booker back from injuries, for the first time this season  all the key Wizards were available for action. During this stretch of games and truly for the first time all season, the Wizards are formidable, home and away.

Other notes from Washington's second road win of the season.

*Highlight's of the 12-0 run included 3-pointers by Trevor Ariza and Crawford; Wall driving across the lane for a running jumper and Seraphin's jumper with 9:36 left in the game capping the surge. Seraphin made 5 of 6 shots in the fourth and looked more like the player we saw dominate at the end of last season rather than the inconsistent version around much of this season.

*Turnovers were problematic, especially in the first half when Washington committed 13 of its 21. When the Wizards maintained possession, they once again demonstrated a sharing mentality, finishing with 26 assists after dishing out 32 in each of the previous two games. Half of the team's top eight assist totals have come this month.

* For the second time in three games they finished with six double-figure scorers, including Seraphin's 18 points. Trevor Ariza scored 14 points and Emeka Okafor and Martell Webster each scored 10.

*Remember when Bradley Beal ended 2012 by missing his last 17 3-pointers? That sure seems like a year ago the way the 19-year-old is draining bombs these days. Beal made 4 of 7, meaning during nine games in 2013, he's now 26 of 43 (60.4 percent) from beyond the arc. In the first half, Beal drained 3 of 5 from distance and scored 13 points. He also showed tremendous toughness late in the game after crashing so hard on an attempted dunk that he bounced off the court. Appeared to be holding his right wrist/hand for a few moments before getting up knocking down two free throws and remaining in the game.

*By the sound of things, Nene received a nice welcome in his first game back where he played his entire career before being traded to Washington last season. By the looks of things, the Brazilian big man might have been trying to do much in his return, especially early. He finished with seven points and four rebounds. In the first half Nene missed four of six shots, four of five free throws and had three turnovers.

*The JaVale McGee reunion also turned out to be nothing more than a sideshow. The ex-Wizard played only 14 minutes, finishing with six points, three rebounds, one block and four personal fouls. The athletic big man did cap the first half scoring with an alley-oop dunk and a putback jam, putting Denver ahead 50-45. McGee nearly avoided those head-scratching plays, though during the second half he slipped while making a post move and while falling wildly threw the ball out of bounds.

*Wall has yet to make a 3-pointer during his return, but he is gaining confidence with his mid-range shot, pulling up on the wing and at the elbow for successful scores.

*D.C. area native Lawson had two points in the first half and finished with 29. That's what happens when you make all eight of your shots in the third quarter including four 3's. Andre Miller and Corey Brewer each had 17 points off the bench.

*Denver had won 24 straight at home when scoring at least 100 points.

*Crawford (eight points) and Trevor Booker (eight rebounds) each played 17 minutes after missing four and two games respectively.

*In the first half, Denver scored 17 points off Washington's 13 turnovers (four attributed to Wall). Collectively the Wizards shot 6 of 13 from the foul line, the though Nuggets were worse at  7 of 16.

* The Wizards are in Los Angeles Saturday night to face the Clippers. Coverage on ComcastSportsNet starts at 10:30 p.m.

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