Nuggets keep it rolling against Wizards |

Nuggets keep it rolling against Wizards

AP Photo/David ZalubowskiDenver Nuggets coach George Karl argues a call with a referee in the first quarter of the Nuggets' game against the Washington Wizards in Denver on Tuesday. The Nuggets, including Karl, are wearing replicas of jerseys worn by the Nuggets from 1974 to 1977 for "Hardwood Classics" night.

DENVER – DerMarr Johnson had 18 points, Eduardo Najera added 16 and the Denver Nuggets ran over their fourth straight opponent, beating the Washington Wizards 127-98 Tuesday night.The Nuggets have been the NBA’s hottest team since the All-Star break and gave the Wizards a glimpse of why at both ends. Denver had six players in double figures, shot 55 percent, had 37 assists, scored 30 points on the break and forced 20 turnovers.The Nuggets are 19-5 since coach George Karl took over and have won 12 of 13 to move three games ahead of Minnesota for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Better yet, Denver is just two games behind Memphis for seventh place.Washington didn’t stand much of a chance against the steamrolling Nuggets and it didn’t help that All-Star forward Antawn Jamison is still on the injured list with a sore knee and guard Juan Dixon missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.

Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards with 25 points, but didn’t get much help. The Wizards shot just 39 percent and were out of it by early in the third quarter as the Nuggets scored almost at will.It was throwback night in Denver and the Nuggets looked and played the part.The Nuggets came out in the dark blue jerseys from the 1975-76 season – their last in the ABA – complete with a red circle in the middle overlaid by a pickax and a golden nugget. Videos of the old days at McNichols Arena also played during timeouts throughout the game.Karl even got into the act.Looking like a weekend warrior instead of an NBA coach, he matched his players with a No. 22 jersey that had “Karl” on the back, only he had a white, long-sleeved shirt underneath and a pair of sweats to round out the ensemble. Thankfully, he wore sweats instead of the short shorts of the ABA days.

His players had no trouble looking the part.Running and gunning at every turn, the Nuggets played with the same kind of flair they had in the glory days, when Larry Brown and Doug Moe – Karl’s assistant now – roamed in front of the bench.With Andre Miller leading the break – five of his seven assists came in the first nine minutes – Denver filled the first half with steals (10), fastbreak lay-ups (nine) and alley-oops (four), closing with 16-5 run to lead 58-47 at halftime.The Nuggets didn’t stop there, extending the lead to 84-65 on Kenyon Martin’s two-handed slam with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.Then again, it’s no surprise.

Denver has scored at least 114 points and won by 11 points or more in each of its last four games, trailing just 1 minute, 15 seconds – all in the first 3 1/2 minutes Tuesday – in that span.And it could have been worse.The Nuggets were just 19-of-34 on free throws and played most of the second half without center Marcus Camby, who sprained his right ankle early in the third quarter.Notes: Denver is 14-1 at home against the East … Washington has lost 10 of 12 on the road and has four more before heading back home. … Denver has won 12 straight games with Johnson in the starting lineup. … The teams combined for 80 free throws, missing 29.

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