Wizards go for perfect homestand vs. Nuggets

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Wizards will go for the clean sweep of a four-game homestand Friday night when the Denver Nuggets pay a visit to the Verizon Center.

The Wizards opened the stay with wins over the New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat and most recently, the Los Angeles Lakers. Washington prevailed over Kobe Bryant and company, 111-95, on Wednesday night.

John Wall scored 17 points and handed out 15 assists to lead Washington. Wall was just 6-of-18 from the field, but he set up his teammates and ran the Wizards offense effectively.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 27 points and collected seven assists himself. Marcin Gortat contributed 21 points and 11 boards, and Kris Humphries dominated the glass with 20 rebounds.

Paul Pierce and Rasual Butler each had 14 in the victory.

Despite a slow start, the Wizards went on a 14-0 run that spanned halftime. The Lakers missed their first seven shots of the third and Washington built a 78-69 cushion after three.

"Whenever we get off to leads like that, we excel in the open court," said Beal. "Whenever we get easy looks, it's always off our defense."

The Wizards held the Lakers to 38.8 percent shooting from the floor.

Washington will play a home-and-home with the Boston Celtics, starting Sunday in Beantown.

The Nuggets have been idle since Tuesday night when they fell at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, 105-103.

Robin Lopez's layup with 1.3 seconds left lifted the Trail Blazers to victory.

The Blazers are 3-0 against Denver this season and have now won seven straight in the series. Portland's lead in the Northwest Division is 5 1/2 games over Denver.

"This is a game that you gotta win," said Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. "They are the division leader and you got them on your home court."

Ty Lawson deposited 24 points and 13 assists for the Nuggets, who had their two-game winning streak halted. Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo both finished with 18 in the loss and Chandler added 10 rebounds. J.J. Hickson chipped in 11 off the bench.

Both teams shot 50 percent or better and Denver out-shot the Blazers from long range. The Nuggets committed two more turnovers and Portland crushed them in converting miscues to points, 23-13.

The Nuggets begin a three-game eastern trip. They will visit the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, then the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors on Monday.

The Nuggets, who are 4-5 on the road, swept last season's meetings with the Wizards. Denver has won three of four and eight of its last 11 in our nation's capital.