Beal scores 20 points, Wizards beat Nuggets, 109-104
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — Bradley Beal scored 20 points as all five Washington starters reached double figures, and the Wizards remained unbeaten by holding off the Denver Nuggets 109-104 on Monday night.
John Wall finished with 19 points as he struggled from the floor (3 of 13) but made up for it on the free throw line (13 of 15). He added 12 assists as the Wizards improved to 3-0.
Otto Porter Jr. had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Nikola Jokic broke out of a scoring slump with 29 points. His running layup early in the first quarter ended a string of six straight quarters without a point.
Jokic also picked up a pivotal technical foul while heading to the bench during a timeout with 32 seconds remaining. It appeared he bumped into Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Beal made the free throw and the Wizards increased their lead to 105-102. Beal then sealed it with a driving layup.
Washington began to seize control with 7:34 remaining courtesy of a four-point play. As Kelly Oubre Jr. drained a 3-pointer, Marcin Gortat was fouled by Jokic in the paint. Gortat made the free throw to extend the lead to 93-87.
The Wizards took advantage of 24 turnovers and finished 26 of 28 from the free throw line.
Beal made quite a play to end the first half, when he caught a long pass from Porter, put it in just before the buzzer sounded and crashed to the floor. His basket gave the Wizards a 56-55 lead.
Wizards: F/C Jason Smith missed the game in his home state with a sprained right shoulder. Smith grew up in nearby Kersey and went to school at Colorado State. “He’s been wanting to play well and hit 17 3s against them, but it’s not going to happen tonight,” Brooks said. “He will have to save it for next year.” … F Markieff Morris missed the game as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. … Oubre had 14 points.
Nuggets: F Juancho Hernangomez was out with an illness. … F Richard Jefferson dressed but didn’t play. He signed a one-year deal last week. … F Paul Millsap finished with 17 points.
“John Wall is in attack mode every minute he’s on the floor. He’s playing downhill, playing north-and-south and getting to the basket. … We have to show a crowd to him all night long, to take away those driving lanes.” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of stopping Wall.
Wizards: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday for their second contest on a four-game West Coast swing.
Nuggets: Play in Charlotte on Wednesday against Dwight Howard and the Hornets.
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