The Washington Wizards figured in yet another hotly contested affair against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. But this time, they were finally able to slay their demons with a final score of 124-121.
D.C. got off to a scorching start in the first quarter as Kyle Kuzma immediately came out of the locker room with his hair on fire.
Kuz piled on a quick 13 points, including nine of the team’s first 19, to go along with six rebounds and four assists in the opening frame.
The Wizards rode Kuzma’s hot hand and showcased some crisp ball movement to the tune of eight assists on 14 FGs to take a 38-25 lead.
But Charlotte flipped the script in the second. The fast-paced Hornets created chaos on the defensive end, scoring off a handful of live-ball turnovers as the Wizards went cold. Washington shot just 7-for-25 in the quarter compared to their opponent’s 17-for-27 mark, falling behind at halftime, 64-56.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth game of runs. The Hornets threatened to blow the game wide open by racing to a 14-point lead. But the Wizards closed strong to cut the deficit to six entering the final frame.
Washington punched back with an 11-0 run to begin the fourth, which set up another frantic finish in Capital One Arena.
And who else was coming up clutch but Kyle Kuzma? It was only fitting that he bookend the story that he began.
Kuz, the main protagonist in this story, hit three HUGE triples back-to-back-to-back in the final three minutes to vanquish the Terry Rozier nightmare that’s haunted Washington.
Kuzma finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and six threes for the game. Bradley Beal, despite a couple of late-game errors, was no slouch himself. The Wizards’ lead guard closed with 35 points, seven rebounds and 8 assists.
It’s Kyle Kuzma’s world - and we all just live in it, folks.
Washington improves to 2-1 on their home stand as the Houston Rockets come into town on Wednesday night.