NBA Recap: Wizards beat Mavericks 113-105
The Wizards’ debut “Cherry Blossom” City Edition jersey seemingly lost a little luster before the game began. Bradley Beal (health and safety protocol) and Kristaps Porzingis (left groin strain) were both ruled out against the Dallas Mavericks along with Delon Wright and Taj Gibson. The short-handed Wizards came into the game as 6-point underdogs at home.
But Kyle Kuzma saved the night with a blistering performance. He had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists to power the Wizards to a 113-105 win over the Dallas Mavericks. He did so on an efficient 14-of-26 from the field. His 36 points matched his highest scoring performance with Washington. When Kuzma was asked what was working for him tonight, he answered simply.
“Everything,” he said.
He later added a “just game”. But everything seems to be working for Kuzma, especially in the second half. He had 18 of his 36 points in the game’s final 17 minutes, including two impressive triples in the video below.
Both of those shots came in crucial parts of the game. After the Mavericks led by 14 in the first quarter, the Wizards battled back to nearly draw the rest of the first half. Kuzma hit a three to finally give the Wizards a 79-77 lead with 4:59 left in the third. Then, Washington went on a 24-9 run and stretched their lead to 14 points midway through the 4th quarter.
After helping the unit take the lead, Wes Unseld Jr. rolled the rest of the game with a lineup of Kuzma-Rui Hachimura-Jordan Goodwin-Will Burton-Daniel Gafford. Hachimura efficiently poured in 23 of his points off the bench, including a very nice finish off a Kuzma pass.
Daniel Gafford registered a double-double and Will Burton hit the big shot. But Jordan Goodwin continued. Despite scoring just two points, Goodwin had a huge impact on the game. His ability to jump over screen handlers was key on Washington’s return. He also dished out six assists. It’s starting to look like the Wizards have discovered a gem in the St. Louis product.
“It’s clear he’s really hungry to play basketball in the NBA,” Goodwin’s Kuzma said. “He comes out there every night and plays as hard as he can. So it’s just when you can see the teammates, their struggles, where they come from, and how they can just seize the moment. He’s a prime example of that and it’s beautiful.”
Washington’s defense held the Mavericks to a 104 offensive rating. Not only was Dallas’ second-worst offensive output this season, but it was also Washington’s third-straight game with a defensive rating of 110 or lower. Two of those games came against top offenses and should provide some hope for the unit moving forward.
The Wizards impressively picked up Luka Doncic. They held the NBA’s leading scorer to 22 points on 8 of 21 from the field and forced him into 5 turnovers. By trading Doncic to stop, Washington allowed former Wizard Spencer Dinwiddie to leave. He had 33 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists in his return to DC
Washington is now 6-6 on the season. The win marked their second two-game winning streak of the year. They will look to snap their first three-game winning streak when they face the surprising Utah Jazz at home on Saturday.
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