Beal may have had the game sealing block, but the star of the night for Washington was Kyle Kuzma who finished with a 27 point, 22 rebound double double. Kuzma was definitely the momentum shift Washington needed going into this season and in the game. He even knocked down three three-pointers out of six attempts.
KUUUUUZ!— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 10, 2022
The man is on fire pic.twitter.com/7uttfEnuFd
The remaining starters for Washington had solid a night as Beal had 20 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 14, Daniel Gafford put up 12 and Spencer Dinwiddie added eight points and 10 assists.
Washington’s defense almost cost them the game in the third quarter as Terrence Ross scored 16 of his 32 points in the third quarter. The Wizards really didn’t have an answer for him. Orlando’s bench (more so Ross) outscored Washington’s bench 43-21.
The Magic tried to rally back getting the score down to 101-100 after Washington allowed a free shot with 7.8 seconds remaining. An inbound pass to Beal and then the foul sent him to the line where he knocked down one of his free throws and then the defensive stop after to end the game.
Another highlight in tonight’s win was the season debut of Rui Hachimura. He finished with six points and three rebounds off the bench. It’ll be interesting as season goes along if he’ll remain as part of the reserves or will him and Kuzma battle for the four spot.
The Wizards will return to D.C. for an eight-game home stand on Tuesday January 11 and first welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder to Cap One. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET