Wizards suffer year's worst loss

Anthony-led Nuggets simply too much, 117-87

March 10, 2004|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - It wouldn't be fair to say that the Washington Wizards stuck a postage stamp on last night's 117-87 loss to the Denver Nuggets and mailed it in, since two key players left the game with injuries in addition to the two top scorers who were already out.

But it would be fair and accurate to say the Wizards were pummeled yet again as if they were helpless, dropping their 28th game of the season by double digits and the 11th by 20 or more points.

When the Wizards lose, they don't do it halfway.

"We just didn't have the skill level or the fight that you need, and the toughness and the resiliency, not [last night] anyway," said Washington coach Eddie Jordan.

The 30-point loss, the worst of an increasingly long and depressing season, led what was left of an announced MCI Center crowd of 14,924 to boo lustily in the final few minutes.

"It's embarrassing, man," said guard Juan Dixon (Maryland, Calvert Hall). "When we were walking through the tunnel into the locker room, fans were telling us to take the money and run. That's sad, when it's coming from your fans. When I heard that, I was a little hurt. We're not playing good basketball right now. We have to play better [tonight]."

The Wizards (20-42) ensured a sixth straight losing season, and the 15th in the past 17 years, with a horrid second half. The Nuggets (34-31), who had lost eight of nine before last night, hung 71 points on Washington after halftime - the most the Wizards had given up in any half all season.

"They were just running up and down the court," said rookie forward Jarvis Hayes, who left in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring. "They outran us and outplayed us. We have to get it together."

Hayes was joined later on the sidelines by Jared Jeffries, who played all of four minutes because of a sore right knee. With Larry Hughes (wrist) and Jerry Stackhouse (ankle and knee) already out, the Wizards were in deep trouble.

Once again, the third quarter doomed Washington, as the Nuggets hit eight of their first nine shots to break the game open with a 17-4 run that turned an eight-point lead into a 21-point advantage.

Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic), in his lone area appearance, scored 26 points. Teammate Voshon Lenard had 27.

"The game came down to Carmelo getting loose on us and Voshon Lenard got loose on us," said Jordan. "They got it going and we didn't fight back hard enough."

Besides Gilbert Arenas (23 points) and Dixon, the Wizards looked perilously close in the second half to beginning to play out the string.

"It's pride now, these last 20 games," said Arenas. "This is the NBA. ... You have to want to be here. You can't take it off. Twenty games is a college basketball season, so we should play the last 20 games like the first 20 games, no matter what the record is."

Said Jordan: "We just have to keep working. Players have to come in with a positive mind-set. I know it's hard, but that's life. That's life in the NBA. That's life out there in the real world and that's what we have to do."

FG FT Reb

DENVER Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Anthony3710-216-84-67226

Nene295-75-61-70415

Camby282-50-01-8054

Lenard3211-174-40-20327

Miller314-60-02-5928

Elson81-42-21-1144

Andersen142-41-44-8025

Boykins205-110-00-46012

Barry120-10-00-0110

White124-50-01-3228

Doleac111-30-00-1022

Tskitishvili62-32-20-0026

Totals24047-8720-2614-452629117

Percentages: FG .540, FT .769. 3-point goals: 3-12, .250 (Boykins 2-3, Lenard 1-5, Barry 0-1, Miller 0-1, Anthony 0-2). Team rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 11 (9 PTS). Blocked shots: 4 (Andersen 3, Elson). Turnovers: 10 (Camby 4, Anthony 2, Nene 2, Tskitishvili, White). Steals: 6 (Nene 2, Andersen, Anthony, Boykins, Miller). Technical fouls: None. FGFTReb

WASHINGTONMinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS

Hayes200-40-00-3100

Brown314-95-78-102313

Haywood324-62-41-42110

Dixon408-183-31-53119

Arenas347-225-81-17523

Blake242-80-02-4414

Jeffries40-10-00-0010

Thomas162-42-51-5126

Baxter184-52-21-40310

Butler210-22-40-0032

Totals24031-7921-3315-36202087

Percentages: FG .392, FT .636. 3-point goals: 4-19, .211 (Arenas 4-9, Butler 0-1, Hayes 0-1, Blake 0-3, Dixon 0-5). Team rebounds: 14. Team Turnovers: 18 (25 PTS). Blocked shots: 3 (Thomas 2, Brown). Turnovers: 17 (Brown 4, Blake 3, Haywood 2, Dixon 2, Arenas 2, Thomas, Jeffries, Butler, Baxter). Steals: 3 (Arenas 2, Haywood). Technical fouls: None. Denver21253239-117

Washington23162028-87

A-14,924 (20,674). T-2:09. Officials-Dick Bavetta, Bennie Adams, James Capers.

Wizards tonight

Opponent: Orlando Magic

Site: TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando, Fla.

Time: 7

TV/Radio: CN8/WTEM(980 AM)

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