DENVER (AP) — Tony Brown Jr. scored 24 points, Thomas Bryant and Jabari Parker each had 20, and the Washington Wizards held Denver to just 28 points in the second half in a 95-90 win over the Nuggets on Sunday Night.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Denver, which lost for the third time in five games and saw its lead in the Northwest Division over Portland cut to three games. The Nuggets lead Houston by 2 ½ games in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
The loss came at price for Denver. Starting point guard Jamal Murray left the game in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn’t return. Murray missed six games from Jan. 26-Feb. 4 with a left ankle sprain. Also, Jokic was ejected late in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 88. Washington outscored the Nuggets 7-2 after Jokic was tossed.
Jokic scored on a layup with 3:36 left, immediately argued with an official and was hit with two quick technicals. Bradley Beal hit the two free throws and Bryant scored on a layup to put the Wizards up four.
It was a rough night all around for Jokic. He scored the first 10 points of the game for Denver and was 7-of-8 shooting when Bobby Portis hit him in the nose with his left hand while going up for a layup. Jokic left the game with a bloody nose and didn’t return until midway through the second quarter.
The Nuggets led by as many as 12 points and were up 72-62 after a 3-pointer by Will Barton with 5:52 left in the third. But Washington scored 13 straight points to take a 75-72 lead. Denver scored just 10 points in the third and missed its last seven shots of the period.
Two 3-pointers gave Denver a lead, but a steal and layup by Tomas Satoransky and a 3-pointer by Brown put the Wizards ahead 86-82 with 6:08 remaining.
Denver shot 53.2 percent in the first half, but was just 10 of 47 from the field.
Wizards: F Trevor Ariza missed his third straight game with a left groin strain suffered at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. ... The Wizards play three of their last four games at home.
Nuggets: G Isaiah Thomas didn’t get off the bench for the seventh straight game and 10th time in the last 11 games. Thomas made his season debut just before the All-Star break but a deep backcourt has kept him out of the rotation. ... Jokic now has 53 double-doubles this season to go with 12 triple-doubles.
Wizards: Hosts Chicago on Wednesday night.
Nuggets: Play at Golden State on Tuesday in a matchup of the top teams in the Western Conference.
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