- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2012

The Wizards scored a season-high 63 points in the first half and made it a close game with the Denver Nuggets, but couldn’t hold on for the win, as they dropped to 2-13 on the season with the 108-104 loss at Verizon Center on Friday night.

Nick Young provided most of the offensive firepower, scoring a season-high 25 points in 10 of 22 from the floor, including 4 of 10 from the 3-point line.

John Wall came close to a triple double, with 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

“It would have been good to get it [the triple-double] but it would have been better to get the win,” Wall said. “Tonight was a tough night; not making shots, and then not really controlling the game like I did the other night [against the Oklahoma City Thunder]. We let it slip away from us in the fourth quarter.”

The two teams set a blistering pace from the very start, combining for 124 first-half points. It’s a pace Wall likes.

“It wasn’t too bad, it’s just if you didn’t get back, the other team was getting scored on,” Wall said. “They [the Nuggets] do a good job of pushing the ball in play. We did a great job of fighting back and showing effort, we just didn’t make the right plays and make the shots in the fourth quarter like we did the other night.

Coach Flip Saunders also liked the pace and ball movement — and, despite the loss, the progress his team is making.

“I can’t fault their effort,” Saunders said. “We played hard and did some positive things. We’re playing better than we were a week ago. Now, we’re competing at a good level. Now, what we we’ve got to do is put ourselves in a position to close out games, make free throws, make stops.”

The Wizards were 13 of 17 from the free-throw line and had 28 assists to just 10 turnovers. But they still shot just 42.1 percent, mostly due to an 0-for-7 night from Andray Blatche and 4-for-17 showing from Wall.

But the most efficient line of the night went to Nuggets power forward Al Harrington, who scored 29 points on 10 of 16 shooting and 5 of 8 from the 3-point line.

“Harrington killed us,” Saunders said. “We have a great defensive sequence, and they throw it out to him at 30 feet, and he just throws it up there at the buzzer and it goes in.”

But unlike Wall and Saunders, Jordan Crawford saw the glass as half empty.

“I really thought we were better than this team,” said Crawford, who took no comfort in the close loss. “It’s starting to hurt, but as time goes on, we’re going to get better.”