Wizards 107, Nuggets 97

John E De Freitas. | 2/24/2010, 11:10 p.m.

By John E. De Freitas

The Washington Wizards won both home games last week after a trade that sent three of their favorite players to Cleveland. First defeating Minnesota 108-99 and then surprising everyone by defeating the Denver Nuggets 107-97, Fri., Feb. 19. Denver defeated Cleveland the night before.

€Al (Thornton) played with a great amount of energy. I told the guys at the shoot around, €we have to play like a bunch of mad dogs€ and that€s how we played tonight. We went after loose balls, we went after rebounds, we didn't give up on plays and then the crowd gets into it and the crowd keeps our guys juiced up,€ Wizards Coach Flip Saunders said about the outcome of the game.

€When we made the decision to make changes, we thought about the type of players we wanted to bring in here. Whether the players were going to be here long-term or not is something that will be decided, but we wanted players that had high basketball I.Q., that played really hard and didn't give up on plays and were hungry. If we get that, we€ll start setting the tone on how we want to play down the road,€ said Wizards Coach Flip Saunders about the team€s recent changes.

€It€s the group of guys and how hard we€re playing. When was the last time you saw Nick (Young) diving on the floor for loose balls? It becomes contagious. When you see a guy like Al Thornton (21 points) going after it on the glass or Josh Howard, (20 points) as a teammate you say €I've got to get on board,€ and that€s what everybody€s done,€ the coach said.

€Andray (Blatche) had a great first half and carried us in that half and when he picked up his fourth we went to the bench and those guys started playing well. Even though we didn't play Andray or JaVale (McGee) down the stretch those are the guys up on the bench cheering the whole time in the fourth quarter, we haven't had that this year,€ Wizards Head Coach Flip Saunders said regarding Andray Blatche, who scored 18 points during the game.

Photo # 4579
All-Star Anthony Carmelo (#15) scored 23 points for Denver.
€I just wanted to win. I have played against these guys several times before. The only thing that is different is that they are playing under a new system. I think that Flip gave Al (Thornton) some confidence and Josh (Howard) as well. They all came out and played hard tonight,€ said Carmelo, who scored 23 points for Denver.

Photo # 4901
Al Thornton wearing his new Wizards uniform makes his way through Denver's Arron Afflalo (left) and Malik Allen on his way to score two of his 21 points.
€We all came out and played hard. That€s something that they preach out here to just come out and play hard and that€s what we did tonight,€ Thornton said.