Denver had a chance to draw closer, but Beal blocked a layup attempt by Miller, and Ariza (16 points) then answered with a cold-blooded three-pointer with plenty of time on the shot clock.
With the Wizards up by four with two minutes remaining, Wall tried a fancy dribble with Faried guarding him and simply lost the ball. Faried threw the ball ahead to Andre Igoudala. Lawson eventually wound up with the basketball and pump-faked to get Beal off the ground. Beal bit and crashed to the floor, banging his head to the hardwood in the process. Okafor described the fall as “some type of gymnastics-worthy landing.”
It was the second time this season that Beal landed awkwardly in a game against the Nuggets. Beal has had a difficult two days, after chipping his front two teeth in a head-to-head collision with teammate Cartier Martin during Thursday’s practice and needing to visit the dentist for two hours to have his mouth repaired. Martin needed 15 stitches and claimed that pieces of Beal’s teeth actually had to be removed from his forehead.
“That’s me, young and reckless,” said the 19-year-old Beal, who finished with his second career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. “Nothing hurts. I’m fine. It’s been a tough week. It is what it is.”
Lawson, a Prince George’s native who played at Bishop McNamara, made both free throws to bring Denver within 113-111, and Wall responded with an ugly runner that missed badly.
With an opportunity to tie the game, Lawson drove inside and former Nugget Nene (14 points) was there to greet his ex-teammate at the rim, blocking the shot. On the next possession, the Nuggets then left Wall wide open, daring him to take the jumper. This time, he buried it, giving the Wizards a crucial cushion as he raced down the floor to chest-bump his teammates on the bench. Wall finished with a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, and the Wizards are 11-9 since he returned.
“He’s trying to work his way into a flow. There’s ups and downs and you’ve got to fight through ’em,” Wittman said of Wall. “He didn’t not one time put his head down, sulked or pouted because he made a mistake. He was able to step up and make that shot.”