Published January 13, 2015
Coming off just their second loss in the New Year, the Denver Nuggets aim to bounce back Friday night versus the Washington Wizards.
The Nuggets, who are in the thick of playing 15 of 18 games at the Pepsi Center, had a six-game winning streak halted in a lopsided 117-97 road loss to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Kosta Koufos had 16 points and nine rebounds, while JaVale McGee scored 15 points, Andre Iguodala netted 12 and Danilo Gallinari added 11 points in defeat. Denver fell to 7-2 this month and was down by a 34-18 score after the first 12 minutes. The Thunder shot 59 percent in the first quarter.
"The Thunder seemed to be the hungrier team from the very beginning," said Denver coach George Karl. "We never got into our flow and our offense just wasn't there."
Oklahoma City led by 25 points heading into the final quarter and was paced by Russell Westbrook's 32 points. Durant, third in the NBA in scoring, followed with 20 points.
Denver will play two straight and eight of nine games in the Rocky Mountains and owns a 15-2 mark as the host. The Nuggets are unbeaten in five straight games at the Pepsi Center and have won 24 in a row there when scoring 100 or more points.
Gallinari has scored 20-plus points in five of seven games for the Nuggets, who are 5-1 at home against Eastern Conference foes. That doesn't bode well for a Wizards team that has lost five straight, eight of nine and 13 of the past 19 matchups in Colorado.
Washington, which has the worst record in the NBA, is winless in four straight and 15 of the last 18 overall encounters with the Nuggets. The two teams will meet again on Feb. 22 at the Verizon Center.
The Wizards were on a roll with a season-best three straight wins, but all that came to an end with a 95-94 loss at Sacramento on Wednesday in the opener of a five-game road trip. Tyreke Evans' free throw with 11.4 seconds left put the game away, while Wizards rookie Bradley Beal led all scorers with a career-high 26 points.
"We didn't put them away," said Beal, who made 6-of-7 3-pointers and is averaging 20.3 points in his last four games. "We were up by 10 at a point, we never stepped on their throats. We let them win this game."
Sacramento outscored Washington, 62-46, in the paint.
Kevin Seraphin finished with 16 points, Nene netted 15 and John Wall delivered 14 points and 10 assists in his third game back since missing the start of the season with a knee issue. Seraphin is averaging 15.0 ppg in his past five.
Wizards leading scorer Jordan Crawford missed his fourth straight game with a balky ankle and is doubtful for Friday's game. He is averaging 15.6 ppg.
Washington will also visit the Clippers, Blazers and Jazz on this trip and is 1-16 away from D.C. this season. The Wizards have lost eight in a row on the road, last winning as the guest Dec. 11 at New Orleans.