Nuggets 106, Bullets 99
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) _ Dikembe Mutombo marked his return to the Capital Centre with 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks as the Denver Nuggets snapped a seven-game road losing streak by beating the Washington Bullets 106-99 Friday night.
Mutombo, Denver’s top draft pick out of Georgetown, had 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets fought back from an eight-point deficit to win their first road game since Jan. 16. Denver is 4-21 on the road this season.
Reggie Williams, also a Georgetown graduate, led the Nuggets with 20 points and Mark Macon had 18. Williams’ 3-pointer with 1:43 left put Denver on top for good, while Macon scored eight points in the final period.
Pervis Ellison led the Bullets with 30 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington held a nine-point lead late in the third quarter, but made only five of 16 shots in the final period. It was 93-93 when Mutombo blocked a shot, starting a fast break that resulted in a layup by Winston Garland.
After two free throws by Ellison tied the score, Williams hit his 3-pointer and Marcus Liberty followed with a layup to make it 100-95.
Ellison scored eight points in a 14-2 run that gave the Bullets a 17-9 lead, but the Nuggets closed to 26-21 after the first period. Washington then built the margin to eight points before Denver closed to 47-44 at halftime.
The Nuggets used an 8-3 surge at the outset of the second half to take the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, but Washington responded with a 10-2 spurt and took a 77-70 lead into the final quarter.
Mutombo said he bought 62 tickets for the game for family and friends.
″There’s no place like home,″ he said. ″You get to see your family, your friends ... all the people you haven’t seen in six months. It was really a pleasure for me.″
Mutombo got off to a shaky start, getting more turnovers (two) than baskets (one) in the first half.
″I thought he was understandably caught up with his return home, and I predicted before the game that he would come out and be out of sync,″ coach Paul Westhead said. ″But there’s no question that in the fourth quarter, he was the dominant reason that we turned the game around. He had two or three blocks and several key baskets.″
Williams’ pivotal 3-pointer came against his good friend and former Georgetown teammate, Washington guard David Wingate.
″I was planning that shot. I just wanted Wingate to step back another inch, so I could get that shot off against him,″ Williams said.
″It took a lot of guts to shoot that shot,″ Washington’s Harvey Grant said. ″Dave had his head turned back toward Mutombo, and the next thing you knew, it was in.″
Denver outscored the Bullets in the final period, 36-22.
″We just got into one of our moods where nobody wanted to shoot the ball,″ Grant said. ″We were playing lazy, and they made some good shots down the stretch.″