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Riding the Wizards Bench November

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Denver Provides Rocky Mountain High For Magical Wizards

4 November 1997. Washington Wizards 120, Denver Nuggets 96 (record: 2-2)
Game leaders: Howard (29 points), Howard (13 rebounds), Strickland (10 assists)

There was no let-down for the Wizards on this night. The Nuggets had the lead after the first quarter, mostly because Eric Williams was able to repeatedly get to the foul line. But in the second quarter, the Wizards clamped down with the defense and turned this affair into a laugher.

WashingtonPost.com: For Bickerstaff, There's Future in the Past.
Juwan Howard must've gotten incensed by Williams' play, because he came alive and controlled the middle 2 quarters, getting his 29 points and 13 rebounds in 3 quarters of play. Six players scored in double figures, most notably 20 points from Tracy Murray and 17 points from Harvey Grant (the most points by Grant since joining Washington in 1996).

The Wizards gave up a few too many offensive rebounds (22), but the Nuggets sure couldn't buy a shot, going 5 of 25 in the 2nd quarter (while getting outscored 29-11). And even with the reserves in during the 4th quarter, the Wizards maintained their advantage and ran the offense well. The Nuggets are a young team, and I liked the hustle showed by rookies Bobby Jackson and Danny Fortson, but this team is bad - really bad. Too bad they are not in the Wizards division (so that they could play each other five times per year).

One historical note: Rod Strickland came into this game with 4,999 career assists. So he easily passed that plateau in the first quarter, although I'm not sure which play it came on (as I wasn't watching the game at the time).

Also, this is the first time Washington has won at Denver since 1991. And we remember last year, when the Bullets lost their only game under the coaching of interim head coach Bob Staak.

wtf 6 November 1997

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