The Denver Nuggets relied on their veteran experience to secure the win in the final stretch, with a final score of 113-104.
Following a two-game absence due to a concussion, Daniel Gafford returned to play on Sunday evening and was immediately placed back in the starting lineup. His impact was evident on both offense and defense, displaying no signs of rust. By the end of the first quarter, Gafford emerged as the leading scorer for the Wizards, contributing six points.
The Wizards’ offense revolved around balance during the game. No player surpassed the 20-point mark, but five Wizards contributed at least 14 points. Additionally, only four players attempted ten or more shots.
In contrast, the Denver Nuggets opted for a different approach, focusing on the outstanding performance of their two-time MVP, Nikola Jokic. As is the case for every team, Jokic proved challenging to defend in The District. He had a dominant first half, scoring efficiently with 26 points and providing five assists.
”It’s tough. They do a great job playing off of him. They’ve got shooting, they’ve got great athletes,” Wizards guard Tyus Jones said about Jokic. “Him and Jamal are a great one-two tandem, so it provides a great challenge. It’s super unique and he’s just extremely unselfish and I think that that’s what really makes it so hard to stop.”
Jamal Murray contributed 19 points, seven assists, and five rebounds, while Michael Porter Jr. recorded 19 points and six rebounds for the Nuggets. Aaron Gordon secured a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
At halftime, the Wizards trailed by 10 points, and the Nuggets maintained that lead throughout the second half. Despite their persistent efforts, the Wizards couldn’t overcome the veteran-built defense of the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic concluded the game with an impressive performance, amassing 42 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.
Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards with 17 points, shooting 7-of-14 from the field. Gafford and Jones each contributed 15 points, and Jones also led in assists with a game-high 13. The Wizards will now take a few days off to regroup before facing Minnesota on Wednesday.