It didn’t seem like a winning night for the Washington Wizards as they prepared to face the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. The movement of the team during warm-ups, the faces of the players, you could tell it was their fourth game in five nights. They weren’t exactly physically weary or mentally downtrodden in appearance, but the air of the team reflected the atmosphere in the Verizon Center, dead … like that oddly quiet elevator ride. Even Baltimore’s Carmelo Anthony being in town barely drew a response from fans, most electing to give him the Prokhorov treatment.
Toss out the box score from the game. The final was 120-109 Denver, but I could convince you otherwise. Washington led 56-46 in points in the paint, 32-8 in fastbreak points, they shot 51.2-percent from the field and made 23 of 27 free-throws. The Wizards were only out-rebounded by three (39-36), all in the defensive boards category, had the same amount of assists as Denver (23), and two less turnovers (15-13). Washington blocked nine shots, which may have contributed to the Nuggets’ 13-2 lead in second chance points, because both teams pulled seven offensive rebounds. Andray Blatche’s first quarter shot chart even looked like this:
Too bad after going 6-8 from the field in the first period, Blatche went 2-6 over the rest of the game (9-9 in free-throws on evening, though, for 25 total points).