Faried has key block, dunk as Nuggets edge Wizards

To prepare for the playoffs, Denver coach Brian Shaw said he

wants his high-scoring team to learn to win tough games.

There was no better training ground for bump-and-grind

basketball than Monday’s 75-74 victory over the Washington

Wizards.

Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, Nate Robinson added 16, and

Kenneth Faried had a key block and transition dunk with 33 seconds

left.

Washington had three possessions after Faried put Denver ahead,

but John Wall missed a layup, Trevor Ariza missed a 3-pointer,

Chandler blocked a layup try by Garrett Temple, and Robinson

stripped the ball from Wall in the closing seconds.

Denver, which came in sixth in the NBA in scoring (104 points

per game), had its lowest output of the season – falling 13 points

below its previous low – but was able to conclude a 4-2 road trip.

Holding Washington without a field goal for the final 4:04, Denver

showed some of the grit that it hopes to employ later in the

season.

”We didn’t even get into the 80’s tonight,” Shaw said. ”But

just being able to execute down the stretch, make tough defensive

stops when we needed to, I thought we did that tonight, especially

at the end of the game.”

Chandler also had eight rebounds as the Nuggets rallied from 12

points down in the second half, and Robinson helped the Denver

reserves outscore their depleted Washington counterparts 34-5.

Wall finished with 20 points and eight assists, Marcin Gortat

scored 16 points, and Trevor Booker added 12 points and 12 rebounds

for the Wizards.

Wall was miffed by a no-call at the end of the game, when

Robinson made the last of his four steals.

”Same thing that was happening all game but I didn’t get the

call,” Wall said. ”Nate Robinson was grabbing my arm every time I

went by him and that’s how I lost the ball and we lose a tough game

tonight.”

In the other locker room, Robinson told reporters that he would

”let you all make that decision.”

Robinson had another key play when sneaked through a screen,

stole a pass, and streaked for a fast-break layup, giving Denver

its first lead since the second quarter, 73-72.

”You gotta be scrappy, do whatever it takes to win,” Robinson

said.

Washington led most of the way behind Wall, but with four

rotation players out, Washington got only five points from six

reserves who played a combined 62 minutes and shot just 2 for

13.

”We’ve got to get more than five points from our bench,”

Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ”That’s gotta get better for us,

no question about it. I think we got up 12 at the end of the third.

I looked up, it’s two right away. I gotta figure out a way to find

guys that are gonna go out there and increase it by 12, keep it at

12, keep it at 10, keep it at eight, until you can get your main

guys back.”

Neither team led by more than four points in a stagnant first

half until Washington scored six straight points, including four by

Wall, to go up 43-36 with 2 minutes to go before the break.

Washington remained in command in the third quarter, pushing its

lead to 58-46 on a jumper by Wall. However, the 5-foot-9 Robinson

came off the bench for Denver and scored eight points.

Timofey Mozgov’s tip-in before the end of the quarter pulled

Denver to 60-58.

The Wizards still had control until midway through the fourth

quarter when reserve forward Jordan Hamilton hit consecutive

3-pointers and former Wizards guard Randy Foye followed with

another 3-pointer with a drive and pass to Chandler for a dunk,

setting the scene for the final grind.

”We missed a lot of open shots. They missed a lot of open

shots. It was terrible basketball,” Faried said. ”It’s like that

sometimes but we came out with a win, so we’ll take it.”

NOTES: The Wizards announced during the game that forward Al

Harrington underwent surgery on Monday to remove particles from his

right knee and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. … Washington

also disclosed that top scorer Bradley Beal has been cleared to

increase basketball activities. The second-year guard, who missed

his seventh straight game on Monday, has been out with a stress

injury to his left fibula. … Washington also was without Nene

(foot tendinitis) and Martel Webster (ankle sprain), who remain

day-to-day. … Denver was without top scorer Ty Lawson

(hamstring), who missed an opportunity to play in his hometown.

Front-court players Danillo Gallinari and Javale McGee remain out

for the Nuggets . With Beal and Webster out, Glen Rice Jr. made his

starting debut for Washington.