Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/19/13
DENVER -- For Nene, it was hard to tell which was sweeter. The Wizards' power forward returned Friday to Denver, where he spent nine NBA seasons before the Nuggets traded him to Washington last March. And the Wizards won the game in his return, beating the Nuggets 112-108. That was nice. But possibly nicer was a win on the road for a team that hasn't enjoyed many road victories in 2012-13. "It was great, for sure," Nene said. "Before the game I was emotional. But it's still a game. We still have to play hard. My teammates did a great job. It was a fun game. Better with the win." Nene cut postgame interviews short so he could catch up with Nuggets coach George Karl. The two men survived cancer during Nene's tenure in Denver, and Nene wanted a quick word with his former coach before leaving town Friday. Karl said prior to the game he expects to keep in touch with Nene in the years to come. Nene was treated to a highlight video played on the Pepsi Center's big screen prior to pregame introductions, and he received a standing ovation when his name was called. He finished with seven points and four rebounds in 28 minutes. "Ten years I play here," Nene said. "I have friends here." While Nene's return was a compelling subplot, the teammates he mentioned provided the most drama. Washington (8-29) overcame an 87-80 deficit entering the fourth quarter by going on an 18-4 run to take control. Trailing by two, Denver's Ty Lawson tried to tie it in the final seconds, but John Wall blocked his layup attempt and then hit two free throws with 2.7 seconds left to seal the victory. Lawson scored a game-high 29, including 23 in the third quarter. The Wizards won their fourth game in their past five and improved their road record to 2-16. Thirteen of their losses have come by six or fewer points, so winning a close one away from home was a welcomed experience. "We're just trying to keep improving," Wall said. "We gave a game away in Sacramento down the stretch. So we just wanted to make plays. I feel like we should have three (road wins)." Washington clicked offensively in the second half, something it has struggled to do all season. The Wizards scored 67 points after halftime, their most in a half this season, and finished 11-for-23 on 3-point shots, a 47.8 percent clip. Washington shot 51.3 percent from the field overall. The Wizards also outrebounded Denver, 45-34. The Nuggets entered with a plus-150 rebounding advantage, second best in NBA. Reserve forward Kevin Seraphin scored 14 points in the fourth quarter for Washington and finished with 18. Bradley Beal led six Wizards in double figures with 23. "This is a team that, with all of our injuries, we have a lot of guys that weren't in a position to have to win games at the end," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "I think we have learned a lot of that and now getting our guys back healthy only adds to that." Karl failed in his second bid to win his 1,099th career NBA game, which would place him sixth on the league's all-time list, one win ahead of Larry Brown. Up next is Phil Jackson, who's in fifth place all-time with 1,146 career coaching wins. Denver (24-18) lost its second in a row after it had won six straight. The Nuggets fell to 15-3 at home. A date with Oklahoma City awaits Sunday. The Thunder beat the Nuggets by 20 on Thursday. "Oklahoma City is acceptable, this is probably not acceptable," Karl said, comparing the two defeats. "We all got to take some responsibility." Said Lawson: "We let them get hot. The first couple of minutes, they went on a 10-0 run, and when a team comes into your building and gets confidence like that, it is hard to stop them when they hit every shot. They are hitting 3s, and in the post, we didn't stop them at all. That's what happens when we don't stay focused." NOTES: Guard Jordan Crawford returned to Washington's lineup Friday after missing the previous four games with a sore left ankle. "(Thursday) we came in for a light, brisk workout and I thought he looked good and had a bounce to him," Wittman said. Crawford leads Washington with a career-best 15.6 points a game. He's also averaging career highs in assists per game (4.6) and rebounds (4.0). Washington entered Friday 4-27 when Crawford plays; 3-2 when he does not. ... Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler returned to Denver's lineup Friday. He missed Wednesday's game at Oklahoma City for precautionary reasons. Chandler missed 30 games with a hip injury before returning on Sunday. ... Asked to compare Wizards' Wall with Hall-of-Fame-nominee Gary Payton, whom he coached in Seattle, Karl said: "Wall has a defensive base like Gary, really low, really stays in his defensive stance. And offensively, they both probably couldn't make shots early in their career. Gary would will a ball into the basket. He'd threaten a ball if it didn't go into the basket."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Seven most shocking development from Day 2 of NFL Draft

Joe Mixon drafted by Bengals; fans boo pick

Vikings land Adrian Peterson’s replacement, trade up for Dalvin Cook

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches moonshot completely out of Fenway Park

Kevin King, alone in green room, taken first in Round 2 by Packers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks for Mariners

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Reuben Foster hung up on Saints when 49ers called him

Packers ‘taking calls’ for No. 33 pick in draft

Bears confirm that Mike Glennon is their starter for the 2017 season

Report: Jets making calls trying to trade Sheldon Richardson

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker