Emeka Okafor had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who never trailed but had an 18-point fourth-quarter lead cut to two in the final minute. Bradley Beal had 17 points and a career-high 12 boards, Trevor Ariza scored 16 points and Martell Webster had 15.
Washington broke a two-game losing streak and added another example to its knack for knocking off top teams while sitting near the bottom of the NBA standings.
Ty Lawson had 27 points and 12 assists, Wilson Chandler had 22 points, and Andre Miller scored a season-high 19 for the Nuggets, who have lost four straight on the road as they jostle for playoff seeding as the fifth-place team in the Western Conference. They also have the dubious distinction of getting swept by the Wizards, having lost at home to Washington 112-108 on Jan. 18.
The Nuggets cut the Wizards' lead to three on Andre Iguodala's baseline 3-pointer with 4:02 remaining and pulled within two after John Wall fancy-dribbled himself into a turnover that led to a Nuggets fast break, with Lawson hitting a pair of free throws with 1:07 remaining to make it 113-111.
Wall missed a floater with under a minute to play, but Nene blocked Lawson's layup with 33 seconds to go to keep the margin at two. Wall then got open to hit a 19-footer that put the Wizards ahead 115-111 with 14 seconds left, and Miller then missed a driving layup in a crowd that essentially ended Denver's last threat.
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The Nuggets shot 48 percent from the field but made only 4 of 22 3-pointers.
Nene and Wall had 14 points each, and A.J. Price scored 12 for the Wizards.
JaVale McGee, traded from the Wizards to the Nuggets at last year's trade deadline, made in his first return visit to Washington. McGee heard some boos and a few claps as he entered the game in the first quarter, and his foul on Garrett Temple's 14-foot jumper allowed Washington to convert a momentum-sustaining three-point play at the end of the third quarter.
The Wizards led by as many as 10 in the first half before the visitors finally caught up just before the break, tying it at 64. It was the most points both scored and allowed by Washington in a first half this season.
The Wizards opened the second half with a 13-0 run, with the Nuggets starting 0 for 5 from the field with five turnovers before Miller drove to the hoop and scored with 6:39 left in the third quarter.
NOTES: Beal wore a mouth guard after getting his two front teeth chipped in a collision with teammate Cartier Martin at Thursday's practice. Martin required more than a dozen stitches for a cut in his head. ... Jason Collins, acquired by Washington in the trade that sent Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics, will join the Wizards for Saturday's home game against the Houston Rockets. ... Washington ended an 11-game streak of holding opponents under 100 points.
Press; By JOSEPH WHITE]
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