The Denver Nuggets ended a three-game Washington streak by shooting 54 percent en route to a 121-90 rout of the Bullets Tuesday night for Washington's worst loss of the season.

Denver has lost seven games at home -- one short of its career mark of eight. The Nuggests roared to a 31-19 first-quarter lead Tuesday to end any chances of tying that negative record.

By halftime, Denver, held a 61-35 lead and, later led by 40. The Bullets made only 34 of 94 shots and had only one player in double figures -- Elvin Hayes (18).

Washington Coach Dick Motta had sensed problems for his team earlier in the day, saying, "There is really something to this altitude business. Denver ought to win 35 games (out of 41 here) because of it."

One of the Bullet troubles was an insistence on throwing up the first decent shot. Denver hardly was the model of patience, but 58 percent of its second-quarter shots went in. Then the Nuggests really got hot.

In the third quarter, Washington made six of its first 10 shots, and watched the Denver lead increase from 16 to 32 points.

Pro basketball's worst freethrow shooter, Kim Hughes, had half as many rebounds, seven, as Washington had as a team the first half. The Nuggets, meanwhile, had 11 more rebounds.

"I thought we played as badly the first half against Atlanta," Motta said, referring to the Saturday game that the Bullets came back and won. Did that mean Motta thought Washington could recover in the second half tonight?


Motta had five reserves start the fourth quarter and with 7:30 left called his last timeout. With good reason: he wanted the end to come as quickly as possible.

Forward Bob Dandridge missed seven of 10 shots, reserve Mitch Kupchak was one for eight and guard Kevin Grevey made only three of 15.

David Thompson led five Nugget double-figure scorers with 22 points and Bobby Wilkerson had 20. The Nuggets grabbed six more rebounds.