Nikola Jokic scored 31 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and passed for seven assists, and the Denver Nuggets held off a fourth-quarter rally to hand the host Washington Wizards their fourth consecutive loss in a 118-104 decision on Wednesday.
Denver (49-24) concluded its five-game road trip with a winning record at 3-2 and maintained its pace atop the Western Conference. The Nuggets took control in the third quarter with a 16-4 run spanning 3:07, turning a four-point deficit into a quick, eight-point lead.
They only built from there, expanding the advantage to 23 points in the opening moments of the fourth quarter.
Washington (32-41), looking to keep its hopes of qualifying for the Eastern Conference play-in alive, battled back to cut the deficit to 10 points midway through the final period.
The last gasp was quickly squashed when Nuggets coach Michael Malone put in starters Jokic and Jamal Murray -- both of whom he pulled earlier in the quarter -- and Denver went on a 9-2 run.
Murray finished with 17 points, a game-high eight assists, and six rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. added 21 points -- 18 of which came on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range -- and grabbed seven rebounds.
Porter led five Nuggets with multiple made 3-pointers. Murray shot 3-of-6 from deep, while Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green each went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Gordon finished with 12 points and Green notched 11 off the bench.
Denver's 15-of-32 edge from long distance made the difference, as the Wizards shot 44-of-87 from the floor overall -- outpacing the Nuggets' 42-of-83 -- but were just 4-of-26 from outside.
Kristaps Porzingis led Washington with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the floor. Deni Avdija added 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Washington came into Wednesday's contest, the second leg of a back-to-back after losing Tuesday in Orlando, 2.5 games behind Chicago for the East's last play-in berth.
--Field Level Media