The Win-less December Continues for the Wizards in the 13-Point Loss to the Nuggets
Washington’s win-less December (their last win was on November 28th) continued on Wednesday night as they traveled to Denver to play Jokic and the Nuggets. The Wizards just could not contain Jokic, leading to a 13-point loss. It was also a reunitement game as a few familiar faces, KCP and Ish Smith, were on the court for Denver.
However, the Wiz were really hurting, missing both Porzingis with a back injury and Bradley Beal with his hamstring issue. This meant that 37-year-old, Taj Gibson, had the duty of guarding the reigning back-to-back MVP for most of the night, and he struggled. Also, keep in mind Washington has been without the former Gonzaga forward, Rui Hachimura, for a while now. So when you look at the recent losses, many of them have been close losses meaning that the Wizards could turn their season around when these faces return to the court to represent the District.
Now for last night’s game, it was Kyle Kuzma who did the heavy lifting for Washington scoring a team-high 24 points shooting over 50% from the field and 50% from deep, as well as amassing 4 assists. Offensively, Kuzma got help from Kispert who had 16 points on 60% shooting, and Monte Morris who netted 20 points but also dished out 7 assists. Nevertheless, the big star of the game was Will Barton, who off the bench, scored 22 points, 9 assists, and 1 steal against his former team. Barton did, however, also accumulate 3 fouls and turned the ball over.
Defensively, the Wiz looked lost in the painted area but were locking down around the perimeter. They were absolutely massacred in the paint, getting outrebounded 45-24 and allowing 98 of the Nuggets’ 141 points to come inside. Around the perimeter, they forced Denver to shoot 25% from deep, earned 10 steals, and forced a total of 19 turnovers. And to give credit where credit is due, Monte Morris had Jamal Murray’s number in Denver, holding Murray to 5 points (Murray is averaging 17 this season).
For the Nuggets, it was the Jokic show. Nikola dropped 43 points, 8 assists, and 14 rebounds in the win. Jokic is averaging a near triple-double this season and looking to join Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird as the only NBA players to 3-peat the MVP award. Despite Jokic being in the spotlight, Aaron Gordon added 22 points and 7 rebounds, and the second-year player, Nah’Shon Hyland, scored 23 points, 6 assists, and a block in one of his better games in his young career so far.
The Wizards drop to 11-18 and sit 12th in the Eastern Conference. They have a bit of time off until they head to L.A. to play the Clippers on Saturday at 4 pm EST and then the Lakers on Sunday at 9:30 pm EST.