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NBA FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- DENVER 29 25 24 27 105 WASHINGTON 30 24 32 14 100 FINAL

HIGH SCORERS: DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 24, NICK VAN EXEL 23, RAEF LAFRENTZ 17 WAS - CHRIS WHITNEY 24, RICHARD HAMILTON 18, JUWAN HOWARD 18

HIGH REBOUND: DEN - ANTONIO MCDYESS 16, RAEF LAFRENTZ 11 WAS - MICHAEL SMITH 16, JAHIDI WHITE 11

HIGH ASSISTS: DEN - NICK VAN EXEL 11, ANTONIO MCDYESS 4 WAS - MITCH RICHMOND 7, JUWAN HOWARD 4

ATT: 13,429


Extended Box

DENVER (105) AT WASHINGTON (100)

DENVER REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

MCDYESS F 41 8-15 8-12 1 15 16 4 3 1 3 24 POSEY F 36 4-8 4-4 6 4 10 3 4 0 1 13 LAFRENTZ C 41 8-14 1-5 2 9 11 2 3 0 0 17 LENARD G 32 6-13 2-3 0 3 3 3 3 0 2 15 VAN EXEL G 41 8-17 4-4 0 4 4 11 1 3 2 23 MCCLOUD 24 3-6 0-0 0 4 4 2 0 0 3 7 WILLIS 10 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 2 BOWEN 4 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 PACK 7 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 2 STRICKLAND 4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 ABDUL-WAHAD DNP - COACH'S DECISION GOLDWIRE DNP - COACH'S DECISION

TOTALS 240 39-79 21-30 9 41 50 28 19 4 12 105 (.494) (.700) TEAM REBS: 9 TOTAL TO: 13(11 PTS)

WASHINGTON REBOUNDS PLAYER POS MIN FGM-FGA FTM-FTA OFF-DEF-TOT AST PF ST TO PTS ====== === === ======= ======= =========== === == == == ===

HOWARD F 40 9-21 0-1 4 3 7 4 3 0 1 18 MICHAEL SMITH F 26 1-5 1-2 6 10 16 1 1 0 0 3 BOOTH C 10 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 2 HAMILTON G 36 8-20 1-2 5 2 7 2 4 0 1 18 C WHITNEY G 40 9-20 3-3 0 1 1 2 6 2 1 24 RICHMOND 28 7-17 0-0 0 4 4 7 1 3 2 17 NESBY 26 2-8 0-0 1 1 2 3 1 1 1 5 J WHITE 26 5-8 2-4 3 8 11 0 5 0 1 12 P JONES 8 0-0 1-2 2 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 KING DNP - COACH'S DECISION LOPEZ DNP - COACH'S DECISION STRICKLAND DNP - SORE HAMSTRINGS

TOTALS 240 42-102 8-14 21 31 52 19 25 6 7 100 (.412) (.571) TEAM REBS: 4 TOTAL TO: 7(11 PTS)

DENVER 29 25 24 27 - 105 WASHINGTON 30 24 32 14 - 100

BLOCKED SHOTS: DENVER - LAFRENTZ 3, WILLIS 3, POSEY. WASHINGTON - BOOTH 3, HOWARD 2, MICHAEL SMITH. 3-PT. FIELD GOALS: DENVER 6-12 (.500), POSEY 1-3, LENARD 1-2, VAN EXEL 3-5, MCCLOUD 1-2. WASHINGTON 8-17 (.471), HAMILTON 1-1, C WHITNEY 3-8, RICHMOND 3-5, NESBY 1-3. TECHNICALS: NONE. OFFICIALS: MIKE MATHIS, JACK NIES, TIM DONAGHY. A - 13,429. T - 2:07.


Box Score

DENVER (105) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mcdyess 41 8-15 8-12 1-16 4 3 24 Posey 36 4-8 4-4 6-10 3 4 13 Lafrentz 41 8-14 1-5 2-11 2 3 17 Lenard 32 6-13 2-3 0-3 3 3 15 Van Exel 41 8-17 4-4 0-4 11 1 23 Mccloud 24 3-6 0-0 0-4 2 0 7 Willis 10 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 5 2 Bowen 4 0-0 2-2 0-0 0 0 2 Pack 7 1-3 0-0 0-1 3 0 2 Strickland 4 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Abdul-wahad DNP - coach's decision Goldwire DNP - coach's decision _______________________________________________ TOTALS 240 39-79 21-30 9-50 28 19 105 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.494, FT-.700. 3-Point Goals: 6-12, .500 (Posey 1-3, Lenard 1-2, Van Exel 3-5, Mccloud 1-2). Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 7 (Lafrentz 3, Willis 3, Posey). Turnovers: 13 (Mccloud 3, Mcdyess 3, Lenard 2, Van Exel 2, Pack, Posey). Steals: 4 (Van Exel 3, Mcdyess).

WASHINGTON (100) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Howard 40 9-21 0-1 4-7 4 3 18 Michael Smith 26 1-5 1-2 6-16 1 1 3 Booth 10 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 4 2 Hamilton 36 8-20 1-2 5-7 2 4 18 C Whitney 40 9-20 3-3 0-1 2 6 24 Richmond 28 7-17 0-0 0-4 7 1 17 Nesby 26 2-8 0-0 1-2 3 1 5 J White 26 5-8 2-4 3-11 0 5 12 P Jones 8 0-0 1-2 2-4 0 0 1 King DNP - coach's decision Lopez DNP - coach's decision Strickland DNP - sore hamstrings _______________________________________________ TOTALS 24042-102 8-14 21-52 19 25 100 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.412, FT-.571. 3-Point Goals: 8-17, .471 (Hamilton 1-1, C Whitney 3-8, Richmond 3-5, Nesby 1-3). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 6 (Booth 3, Howard 2, Michael Smith). Turnovers: 7 (Richmond 2, C Whitney, Hamilton, Howard, J White, Nesby). Steals: 6 (Richmond 3, C Whitney 2, Nesby). ____________________________________________ Denver 29 25 24 27 - 105 Washington 30 24 32 14 - 100 ____________________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Flagrant fouls: None. A: 13,429. T: 2:07. Officials: Mike Mathis, Jack Nies, Tim Donaghy.


Game Story

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Once again, Nick Van Exel made sure the Denver Nuggets finished strong.

The fiery point guard scored his team's final eight points as the Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak and remained unbeaten at the MCI Center with a 105-100 victory over the Washington Wizards.

With Denver clinging to a 99-98 lead after Mitch Richmond's 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining, Van Exel beat the shot clock by burying a 26-footer with 40 seconds left.

"I didn't think it was going in. I thought it was off," Van Exel said of the rushed jumper.

He answered Juwan Howard's jumper with an acrobatic driving layup, drawing a foul from Chris Whitney and knocking down the ensuing free throw to cap the scoring with 12.6 seconds left.

"Coach (Dan Issel) was was calling my number at the end a little bit and I was just trying to come through when I could," Van Exel said. "I like those opportunities to come through for the team and sometimes I come through and sometimes I don't."

"He is the best to take big shots like that," Issel said. "You have to be willing to live with the failure that they don't go in and that is Nick's attitude. He wants to take them. If they don't go in, he can live with being the goat. But more often than not, he turns out to be a hero."

Van Exel, who also made two free throws with 1:41 to go during his closing burst, finished with 23 points and 11 assists. The 6-1, 190-pounder has shown a penchant for strong finishes this season, averaging better than 11 points in the fourth quarter. He had 10 in the final period Saturday.

"I'm not amazed," McDyess said when asked about Van Exel's late-game heroics. "I've seen him do it all the time. He can take over the game whenever he gets ready to. In the fourth quarter he just comes alive."

McDyess led a strong effort by Denver's frontcourt with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Nuggets center Raef LaFrentz had 17 points and 11 boards and forward James Posey added 13 and 10 as four of Denver's five starters finished with double-doubles.

The Nuggets improved to 3-0 at the MCI Center, which opened in 1997. Denver's seven road wins equal its total from a season ago.

Whitney scored 24 points and Howard and Richard Hamilton added 18 apiece for Washington, which has lost two straight since a season-high five-game winning streak.

"It is very hard to explain. The same thing happened the last time (Wednesday's 100-96 loss to Orlando," Hamilton said. "We have to learn how to win in the last couple of minutes."

"This one was really tough," Whitney said. "We were really excited about coming back and starting a new streak. We know we can win a game down the stretch. The last few, we just didn't finish them out."

A game that featured 20 lead changes and 10 ties seemed to turn in the Wizards' favor midway through the third quarter. Whitney hit a 20-footer, Jahidi White made two layups and Howard added a basket to cap an 8-0 run, giving Washington a 76-69 lead with 3:45 remaining in the period.

Whitney converted a three-point play to make it 79-71 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter and his two free throws gave the Wizards an 86-78 advantage entering the final period.

George McCloud shot the Nuggets back into contention, scoring all seven of his points in the fourth quarter. He followed a basket by McDyess with a 19-footer that gave Denver a 96-92 lead with 5:14 to play.

Whitney answered with a 20-footer but both teams went scoreless for nearly 2 1/2 minutes before Van Exel took control down the stretch.

Voshon Lenard scored 15 points for Denver, which shot 49 percent (39-of-79). Van Exel made 8-of-17 shots, including 3-of-5 3-pointers. He also had three steals, four rebounds and made all four of his free throws in 41 strong minutes.

Richmond scored 17 points off the bench and White added 12 and 11 rebounds for Washington, which shot 41 percent (42-of-102) and was outscored, 21-8, at the line. Michael Smith grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds for the Wizards, who held a 52-50 advantage on the boards.

"Your heart beats out for our guys," Washington coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They put themselves in a position to win games. We fought and competed very, very hard and we still came up a little short."

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