Wizards-Nuggets Preview

With eight of their next nine at home, the Denver Nuggets will

look to get right back on track after their six-game win streak was

snapped their last time out.

They may have a good chance to do so Friday night against the

improved Washington Wizards, who still can’t stop their losing ways

on the road and have lost nine of 10 meetings with the Nuggets.

The Nuggets (24-17) have won 13 of 14 in Denver and are 15-2

there for the second-best home mark in the NBA.

Denver ranks near the top of the league in home scoring with

106.2 points per game, and it’s averaged 109.4 during its five-game

win streak at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets’ 117-97 loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday saw a

rare off night from leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who had 11

points and shot 3 of 10. Gallinari averaged 21.7 points in the

previous six games.

Ty Lawson also had a rough performance, scoring two points in 20

minutes after totaling 44 in his previous two contests.

“There’s always those three or four or five games a year that

you can’t get it going, and we couldn’t get it going,” coach

George Karl said.

Gallinari and Lawson combined for 42 points in a 108-104 win at

Washington on Jan. 20 in the most recent meeting between the

teams.

Washington has played better lately with victories over Oklahoma

City, Atlanta and Orlando for its first three-game winning streak

of the season. That was snapped with a 95-94 loss at Sacramento on

Wednesday.

Making their second stop on a five-game trip, the Wizards (7-29)

will try to end an eight-game road skid after falling to a

league-worst 1-16 away from home. Washington ranks last in the

league on the road in scoring (84.6), field-goal percentage (39.9)

and free-throw attempts (16.1).

The Wizards might be able to improve in those areas with John

Wall gaining strength since his return. The point guard, who’s

played three games after missing 33 due to a knee injury, had 14

points and 10 assists against the Kings and is averaging 13.3 and

6.7.

“I felt good, except that I missed two free throws,” Wall

said.

Rookie Bradley Beal has also sparked the team’s recent surge by

averaging 20.3 points and going 13 for 18 from beyond the arc in

the last four contests.

Washington could be without leading scorer Jordan Crawford for a

fifth straight game because of an ankle injury.

The Wizards have shot 50.6 percent from the floor and gone 15

for 28 from 3-point range in their last two games. They’ll try to

match that efficiency against the Nuggets, who have allowed

opponents to shoot 50.4 percent and 42.9 (30 for 70) on 3s in the

past three contests.

Nene will make his first return to Denver since the three-team

deal that sent JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver in March.

He’s averaging 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds.