WASHINGTON — Emmanuel Mudiay couldn’t stop marveling about John Wall.
"He said to me during the game, ‘Man, John Wall is the quickest guy I’ve ever played against,"’ Denver coach Michael Malone said. "And I said, ‘You’re not even guarding him, Gary Harris is."’
The Nuggets’ young starting guards held their own against an NBA All-Star.
Mudiay scored 20 points, Harris helped hold Wall to 5-of-17 shooting, and the Nuggets beat the Washington Wizards 117-113 on Thursday night.
Harris is just 20 and Mudiay, who a year ago was playing in China, is 21. They helped the Nuggets send the Wizards to their fifth loss in six games.
Wall, chosen for his third All-Star Game on Thursday, missed five of his seven 3-pointers.
"Definitely felt good, about time," Mudiay said. "I think we’re better on the road than we are at home right now."
Mudiay is right. The Nuggets actually have a slightly better record on the road (9-14) than they have at home (9-15).
Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points to lead Denver. He hit four of his five 3-pointers. The Nuggets were 9 for 18 from 3-point range.
After the Wizards, who have lost five of six, clawed back from an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to tie the game at 99-all, Harris and Gallinari hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 105-99 lead with 3:16 to go.
Wall had 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Washington had seven players score in double figures, but it wasn’t enough.
"It’s nothing offensively," Wall said. "We just can’t guard a soul."
Nuggets: Denver played without F/C Joffrey Luvergne (toe). … The Nuggets had lost their three previous back-to-backs.
Wizards: F Otto Porter left the game in the third quarter with hip tightness. . Wall’s streak of 10 or more assists ended after five games. … The Wizards were introduced as the Baltimore Bullets and wore uniforms representing the franchise’s home from 1963-73.
In their last five losses, Washington has given up at least 106 points.
"Coming out of the locker room, we lost it," coach Randy Wittman said. "We’re waiting to the point of being embarrassed before we start playing hard from a defensive standpoint."
The Wizards aren’t far from playoff contention, but unless they go on a second-half run, they’ll end their season early.
"For us, it’s what team are we trying to be here?" Jared Dudley said. "You can’t keep coming into this locker room and talking about inconsistency because April 15th, we’ll all be back at the crib."
Wall was happy he made the All-Star team, but he has other things on his mind.
"It’s a huge honour. It’s great to be voted in by the coaches," Wall said. "(I’m) very happy to be there, but the way we are playing as a team and losing games, that’s the most important thing I’m worried about right now."
Malone was complimented when Bradley Beal walked over to him and said positive things about the Nuggets.
"It was really nice when Bradley Beal came up to me towards the end of the game and says: ‘Wow Coach, you’re doing a hell of a job. Your young guys have a chance to be really good players and you guys play really hard,"" Malone said.
Beal returned after missing one game with a concussion. He played with a face guard to protect the broken nose he suffered in Monday’s loss to Boston. Beal scored 17 points.
Nuggets: Visit Indiana on Saturday.
Wizards: Visit Houston on Saturday.