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Mcdyess' 39 Not Enough

Antonio McDyess had another huge game, but it wasn't enough because Washington had too many weapons.

McDyess scored 39 points and had 12 rebounds for Denver, but Mitch Richmond scored 29 points, Juwon Howard added 27 and Rod Strickland had 14 as the Wizards defeated the Denver Nuggets 112-100 on Saturday.

Strickland also dished out 11 assists. Richmond, Howard and Strickland combined for 70 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists for the Wizards, which shot 50 percent from the field for only the fourth time this year.

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  • "The big three really did the job," said Washington coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who was Denver's general manager from 1990-97. "They have been playing well, but we also did was get some support off the bench from people like Tracy Murray, who gave us 16 points."

    McDyess also pulled down 12 rebounds for Denver, which lost its fourth consecutive game. Nick Van Exel added 23 for the Nuggets.

    "McDyess and Van Exel had good games, but we needed somebody else to step up," Denver coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They have such a good team with Richmond, Howard and Strickland."

    Richmond had only two field goals in the fourth quarter, but was 7-for-7 from the line. Van Exel hit a 3-pointer with 5:50 left in the game, but Richmond sank two free throws and had two assists to offset a McDyess dunk to keep Washington's lead at 105-87. Richmond sealed the win with four free throws in the final minute.

    The Wizards opened up an 86-72 lead after three quarters.

    McDyess accounted for nearly half Denver's first half points with 24 on 11-for-13 shooting from the field, but Washington produced a season-high 60 points in the half and led by eight points at the break. Four Wizards reached double figures by halftime, including Howard, who had 15 despite playing only 17 minutes.

    "There was a good flow to or game and our offense was tuning very well," said Richmond, who is averaging 29.4 points and is 34-for-36 from the line in the last five games. "Juwan carried us in the first half so coach started calling my plays and we were able to take a nice little lead into a comfortable one."

    Murray sparked a 19-7 run in the second period with a pair of 3-pointers. He had 10 points as Washington extended its 30-29 first quarter lead to 49-36. McDyess kept the Nuggets to within 11 of the Wizards until Nick Van Exel's 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds of the half.

    "One thing we did was not let them get off to a good start," Richmond said. "McDyess was doing his thing and all we wanted to do was stay in striking distance and we did." Notes: Denver has given up 50 points in the first half 17 of 29 games. ... Otis Thorpe has reached double-figure scoring eight times since being inserted into the starting lineup on March 1. ... Richmond has scored 25 or more points 12 times. ... Strickland moved to within one assist of 6,000.

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