for this game

Nuggets beat down struggling Wizards, win fourth straight

Feb 7, 2009 - 5:46 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Two days after eking out a win against one of the NBA's worst teams, the Denver Nuggets easily handled another woeful club Friday.

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points as the Nuggets posted their fourth straight win, a 124-103 dismantling of the bottom-feeding Washington Wizards.

Dahntay Jones scored 18 points and Chauncey Billups added 16 for Denver, which did not play its starters in the final period.

"Not looking past that team - getting out early - and distributing the ball," Anthony said. "Passing the ball the way we did early in the game got contagious throughout the whole game."

Billups admitted it's not always easy playing against an overmatched opponent.

"Games like this are dangerous," Billups said. "Teams like this that are wounded, beaten up, haven't been very successful, they're just going to play. They're going to be loose.

"You've got to impose your will and, when you get them down, you keep them down. Today, we did a really good job of it."

The Nuggets held off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-113, on Wednesday in the opener of their eight-game road trip.

Holding a seven-point lead after the first quarter, Denver outscored Washington, 38-25, in the second to set the tone for the rest of the contest. The Nuggets won the third quarter by a 34-22 margin to take a 32-point bulge into the fourth.

"Once we got the rhythm at the end of the first quarter, they battled in the second quarter, but then it got up to 20," Denver coach George Karl said. "We started the third quarter with the first eight points and they couldn't come back.

"There's too many holes, too many injuries on that team."

Antawn Jamison scored 26 points for Washington (10-40), which suffered its eighth loss in nine games and played without forward Caron Butler (flu) for the second straight contest.

The Wizards hung in for one quarter, then allowed the Nuggets to go on an 11-2 run to start the second. Kenyon Martin's layup capped the burst and gave Denver a 41-25 lead with 9:36 left and forced a timeout from Washington.

The Nuggets started the third the same way, running off a 10-2 spurt to make it 78-50. The run was capped by Jones' layup with 8:59 left and the rout was on.

The game took on its form partly thanks to the return of Billups, who sprained his right ankle on Tuesday and did not play the next night against the Thunder. Kenyon Martin also sat out that contest.

"That was a plus, too," Anthony said about the return of his two key teammates. "Everybody was in a rush to get back in there and, most important, we took control from the beginning.

"That gave us some uplifting spirit tonight - getting everybody back."

Washington, which had already surpassed its loss total from last season, had failed to reach 100 points in any of its recent setbacks until Friday's effort.

Nick Young scored 20 points off the bench for the Wizards, whose lineup was young and inexperienced with second-year players Javaris Crittenton and Dominic McGuire in the starting five.

"As long as there were some veterans on the floor, we were playing good and we were competing," Washington coach Ed Tapscott said. "However, I cannot play all the veterans for the entire 48 minutes."

Washington's youth movement allowed for an easier time for Denver's bench, which scored 50 points. Reserves Linas Kleiza and Chris Andersen scored 13 points apiece.

"I thought our second unit was the key to the game," Karl said. "Chris Andersen came in and we stopped them. We got some easy baskets and made good decisions. Chris came in when Nene got in foul trouble.

"It looked like it was going to be a negative. It turned into a positive."