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Facu Campazzo misses 3-pointer at the buzzer, Nuggets fall to Wizards again

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For the second time in eight days, the Wizards left the Nuggets disgusted.

Down two points with five seconds remaining, the Nuggets had a 3-on-1 break, which, at minimum, should’ve tied the game. As Jamal Murray bolted down the left side of the court, Michael Porter Jr. and Facu Campazzo fanned out to the 3-point line instead of sinking toward the hoop for an easy layup.

The result? An errant Campazzo 3-pointer at the buzzer, which gave the Wizards a dramatic 112-110 win.

“We had a layup,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “It’s a 3-on-1 break. All Michael Porter’s gotta do is cut to the basket. All Jamal Murray’s gotta do is push the ball and attack, but we didn’t get that.”

Instead, the Wizards escaped Ball Arena with another heartpounding win after beating in Washington last week. The loss dropped the Nuggets to 17-15 with a four-game road trip, beginning Saturday in Oklahoma City, awaiting.

Murray had 13 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Jokic added 24. Starting at power forward again, Porter Jr. registered 18 points and 10 rebounds.

But the Nuggets, once again, suffered from self-inflicted errors. The Wizards scored 23 points off of 18 Nuggets turnovers. In the second half, Washington owned the glass with 22 rebounds and 12 second-chance points.

Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook combined for 49 points in the win.

Both offenses cooked in the third quarter, though each team found vastly different methods to pay-dirt. Jokic and Murray each knocked down three 3-pointers as part of a third-quarter deluge. Porter and Monte Morris added two more triples to aid Denver’s 34-point outburst.

In contrast, the Wizards got whatever they wanted inside. Whether off turnovers or simply insufficient defense, Washington poured in 22 points in the paint in the quarter alone. Denver’s five turnovers only greased the wheels. By the time it was over, the Nuggets found themselves in another dogfight against the Wizards, tied 88-all heading into the fourth.

Following Tuesday’s win over Portland — where Murray scored 19 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter — Denver’s point guard was honest about the impact of not making the All-Star Game yet again.

“(The snub) carries on for the whole season,” Murray said. “I feel like I was banged up all season, still trying to fight through and play through it. I did OK.

“It’s not my first time not making it, so I’ll always come back next year, come back better, as I do every year,” he added. “Championship is the goal. It’s never, obviously you find some milestones, you miss out on some, but there’s a lot more to achieve this season than just being an All-Star.”

In the five games entering Thursday night, Murray had authored a torrid stretch. He’d led the Nuggets with 32.8 points per game, including nearly five 3-pointers per game on 54% 3-point shooting.

The reality, though, was his surge came too late into the first half of the season.

“Joker’s in the All-Star Game and he’s going to represent us well,” Murray said.

Given how disjointed parts of the first half were, the Nuggets were fortunate to be down just 56-54 at the break. Similar to their loss in Washington eight days ago, the turnovers were glaring. The Nuggets coughed it up 10 times – twice the miscues the Wizards had.

But because of Jokic, Murray and Porter, the Nuggets hung around, even momentarily taking the lead in the second quarter. Jokic had 13 points and eight rebounds, dominating Mo Wagner in the paint in the first half. Murray added 12 points and six assists, including one to Porter in transition that fired up the entire bench.

Porter was active on the glass yet again. He snatched five rebounds and buried a couple of 3-pointers before halftime.

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