Beal hits late free throws, Wizards edge Nuggets 130-128

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal made two free throws with a tenth of a second left to give the Washington Wizards their third straight victory, 130-128 over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Davis Bertans had career highs with nine 3-pointers and 35 points, Beal finished with 25 points and a season-high 10 assists, and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Washington has won three straight for the first time since Dec. 1-5, 2018.

“When those shots went down, they started looking for me even more, running more plays for me, and I took advantage of that,” Bertans said. “My shots are falling, and sometimes there’s not much the defense can do.”

Denver coach Michael Malone wasn’t pleased with his team’s defense.

“Obviously, Bertans killed us tonight,” Malone said. “He comes off the bench to go 9 for 11 from 3 for 35 points. That guy is supposed to be a guy that’s not supposed to get off 11 shots from the 3-point line.”

Jamal Murray led Denver with 35 points, and Nikola Jokic scored 33 points. Murray scored Denver’s final 11 points, with his 3-pointer tying it at 128 with 2.1 seconds left.

Coming off a loss at Boston on Tuesday night, Denver allowed its highest points total of the season. The Nuggets had a 39-19 lead late in the first quarter, but it quickly vanished.

“We were up 20,” Jokic said. “We didn’t play any defense. We can not have that many letups.”

Jokic scored 10 points in the first 3 ½ minutes and 15 in the first quarter, and then coach Scott Brooks put Robin Lopez on him.

“My goal is just to try to make him not quite as comfortable,” Lopez said. “He’s somebody that likes to be really sneaky and really clever out there.”


Nuggets: F Paul Millsap missed his second straight game because of a strained left knee. Malone said he hasn’t gotten “a real clear picture” of how long Millsap will be out. … G Gary Harris returned after missing seven games with a strained left abductor. … F Monte Morris, who missed Tuesday night’s game at Boston with a strained right shoulder also returned.

Wizards: G Ish Smith will miss six to eight weeks with a right quadriceps injury. “That’s a big chunk of the season,” coach Scott Brooks said. … Westbrook was assessed a technical foul in the fourth quarter.


Beal has twice been an All-Star, and he’ll find out on Thursday if he’ll get a third invitation. He was disappointed that he wasn’t selected last season.

“When I first picked up a basketball, it wasn’t to win a trophy,” Beal said. “It wasn’t to win someone’s approval. It wasn’t to win someone’s vote.”


Before the season, Bertans signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension with Washington, and hadn’t been playing well. Entering the game, he was hitting on 34.9% of his 3-pointers.

“Those couple of months have been frustrating as hell,” Bertans said. “I can’t sleep at night.”


Nuggets: At Charlotte on Friday night

Wizards: At Portland on Saturday night.


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