WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Wizards are off to their best start in 40 years. Their 13-5 record has particularly impressed Paul Pierce, who was with 11 playoff teams and one that won the NBA championship.
''You see a lot of similarities to teams that have made long playoff runs and teams that made it to the Finals,'' Pierce said.
Pierce played on some great Boston Celtics teams, and in his first year with the Wizards, thinks his new team can get much better.
''We know it's early in the season,'' Pierce said. ''But we like where we're at right now.''
Right now, Washington has the second best record in the Eastern conference thanks to their biggest win of the season, 119-89 over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Kris Humphries scored 20 points, Rasual Butler and Kevin Seraphin each had 16. Six Wizards finished in double figures, something that particularly miffed Denver coach Brian Shaw.
''It's almost laughable,'' Shaw said. ''I look at the bottom of the stat sheet and there's probably six to eight different notes on season highs for the Wizards.''
Not only did Washington win by its widest margin, but scored the most points. Seraphin's points were a season high, too.
''We got killed on the boards. We got more than doubled up on the assists. Turned the ball over 19 times for 21 points. Only shot 37 percent from the field. Every kind of way that they could beat us, they beat us tonight,'' Shaw said.
Wilson Chandler, who scored 10 straight Denver points in a two-minute span in the third quarter, led the Nuggets with 20 points. Denver dropped to 9-10. Their 89 points equaled a season low.
Marcin Gortat had 15, Bradley Beal had 14 and Pierce had 11.
''We know we're a pretty good team. We know we can be an even better team. That's what makes us a good team because we want to continue to get better,'' Beal said. ''We still play with a chip on our shoulder like we have something to prove.''
John Wall narrowly missed a triple-double with nine points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
Nuggets: C JaVale McGee returned after missing five straight games with a left leg injury. ... F Danilo Gallinari played despite feeling ill. He missed Friday's shootaround. . G Nate Robinson was kneed in the back. Shaw said the trainers were examining him.
WIZARDS: F Nene returned after missing five games due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He didn't start, but scored eight points and had eight rebounds in 17 minutes. . F/G Martell Webster, who hasn't played this season due to June back surgery, is making progress according to coach Randy Wittman. ''He's starting to do more and more each day,'' Wittman said. ''Not a whole lot of contact, a little bit.'' Wittman declined to guess when Webster will be ready to play.
20-20 MAN: Humphries had a season high with 20 rebounds against the Lakers on Wednesday and on Friday had his best scoring game with 20.
''I don't know if I want any other 20's on the stat sheet. They're usually bad ones,'' Wittman said.
Shaw was particularly annoyed that Humphries seemingly scored at will off Kenneth Faried
''I thought Kris Humphries got whatever he wanted,'' Shaw said. ''Made Kris Humphries tonight look like an All-Star.''
BENCH RULES: Wittman challenged his bench to score during Friday morning's shootaround. ''Let's see who has the better bench,'' Wittman told them. They responded with 50 points.
Nuggets: At Atlanta on Sunday
Wizards: At Boston on Sunday