After gaining a 14 point advantage over the Denver Nuggets early on, careless turnovers and lazy defense caught up to the Washington Wizards as they went on to lose, 105-103.
Denver, who missed three starters to injury tonight, got much a much needed spark from their bench, and it all started with…Jan Vesely. Of course, it wouldn’t be “So Wizards” if a former member of the team didn’t initiate the comeback for Denver, and Vesely did so tonight. Drew Gooden has been very good offensively, but his defense leaves much to be desired. Vesely sparked Denver’s comeback by picking off three steals, leading to multiple easy dunks in transition. After stealing the ball from John Wall, Jan Vesely sprinted up the floor for a slam dunk and afterwards seemed to “unveil the Wizard”, which a celebration Martell Webster made popular last year. Vesely played just 15 minutes tonight, but managed to get 9 shots up, making 5 of his attempts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Vesely play more aggressive with the ball in his hands than he did tonight. Don’t get me wrong, Jan Vesely is still the Jan Vesely we all knew in Washington, but it’s still weird to see him want to shoot the ball. With J.J. Hickson out, I expect Vesely to get an opportunity to play.
Washington gained an early advantage after Trevor Ariza scored 15 points in the first quarter. Denver hasn’t really been good on the defensive side of the floor this season and Ariza was able to get three easy layups in transition right out of the gate. He finished the game with 18 points, so he was pretty quiet after the first quarter.
The Wizards knocked down only 5 three point shots tonight, and when they aren’t getting much production from deep, it makes it very hard to win games. Bradley Beal scored 21 points and made 3 of Washington’s 5 made threes. For the most part, Bradley Beal got good looks and he made the most of it. He didn’t seem very hesitant and also added 4 assists and 7 rebounds to his total. Overall, Beal played a good game.
Beal’s back court mate, John Wall, didn’t play a good game, to say the least. Wall turned the ball over a season-high 8 times and didn’t seem very energized at all. Playing 3 consecutive games on the road could’ve certainly played a part in Wall’s bad performance, but it would’ve been nice to see him engaged more offensively. Wall has seen better days, so it’s important for him to just put this one behind him and move on.
Washington has to do a better job of keeping their leads, but I guess these type of losses are going to happen from time to time, especially when the team is so dependent on younger players. Instead of finishing their west coast trip with a 3-1 record, the squandered leads against the Sacramento Kings and now the Denver Nuggets will leave the Wizards with a 1-3 record.
The Wizards will be able to catch up on some rest before returning to action at home on Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.