Wizards can’t overcome Nuggets, end trip with 1-3 mark

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DENVER — Randy Wittman was livid with his team’s rather lackadaisical play, especially this close to the postseason and against an injury depleted Denver Nuggets squad.

“We’ve given games away. You can’t do that,” the Washington Wizards coach said.

The Nuggets took advantage of Washington’s season-high 24 turnovers — including eight by point guard John Wall — as they held on for a 105-102 win on Sunday night.

The Wizards return home 1-3 after a four-game road swing — not exactly what they were hoping for in the thick of a playoff chase.

“We thought we were going to show up and just win the game versus showing up and taking the game,” Drew Gooden said.

But Denver stuck around even with all the team’s ailments and in a season that’s gone sideways. Kenneth Faried had 20 points and Aaron Brooks hit four straight free throws in the final 12 seconds, helping the Nuggets hang on for their fifth straight home win.

Randy Foye added 17 for a Nuggets team that was missing J.J. Hickson, who suffered torn ligament in his right knee on Friday. Wilson Chandler also didn’t play (strained left hip) and Jan Vesely didn’t return after bruising his rib cage late in the third quarter.

“You step up,” Evan Fournier said. “When you have an opportunity, you have to take it.”

Plus, there’s always this incentive to play all out — a new deal.

“I’m getting an extension next year so I’m playing for myself and my family, playing for my teammates because I want (us) to get at least over .500, that’s the least we can do,” Faried said. “We know we’re not going to make the playoffs, but we’re going to keep fighting.”

Bradley Beal wound up with 21 points for Washington and Trevor Ariza scored 18, but only three after the first quarter.

About that first quarter: That’s when things really began to unravel for the Wizards. They were up 14 late in the period before taking the foot off the gas pedal.

That allowed the Nuggets to creep back in.

“Feel like we could’ve won this game (if) we opened it up,” said Wall, whose eight turnovers were a season high. “But we turned the ball over too much.”

Precisely Wittman’s feelings, too.

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