Let’s start off with the good news. The Washington Wizards are undefeated after beating the Indiana Pacers, 114-107 on Wednesday night.
Let’s start with some more good news. The Wizards played 46 excellent minutes of basketball. With just over two minutes left in the game, a Kyle Kuzma jumper put the good guys up 110-99.
Now, let’s get to some bad news. The 46 minutes of good basketball all nearly unraveled in a hurry as Tyrese Haliburton’s game-tying three was hoisted up into the air with under 30 seconds left in the ball game. But despite the messy finish, the Wizards still built themselves a sizable enough cushion to withstand the scare for a 114-107 win.
By all accounts, the Wizards deserved to win this game. They jumped out to an early lead, going up 10-3 with four different players responsible for the scoring. They pushed that to double figures and carried a 36-25 advantage to the second after a thrilling Will Barton buzzer-beater.
Will Barton beats the buzzer to end Q1! #KiaTipOff22— NBA (@NBA) October 19, 2022
Live Now: https://t.co/1pomQZMAZK pic.twitter.com/m90TR00vkT
The second quarter showcased the depth that the Wizards have off the bench. Featuring an all-reserve lineup of Barton, Rui Hachimura, Daniel Gafford, Delon Wright, and Anthony Gill, Washington managed to provide stability in what used to be a shaky sequence for D.C.
They were even able to withstand an early comeback as the Pacers cut the lead to one before the Wiz flipped the switch again with an 11-0 run of their own.
Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma combined for 35 in the first half while the bench gave a solid 19 points as Washington held a 60-52 lead at the break.
In a sport that’s usually a game of runs, the Wizards stifled every attempt to get close in the third quarter as the score see-sawed by just a handful of points to maintain a 87-77 lead into the fourth.
Washington managed to impose their will to open the final frame, pushing the lead to as much as 18 points after a big-time Daniel Gafford slam.
The steal— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 20, 2022
THE SLAM pic.twitter.com/lgVDqMyi95
The Wizards simply got sloppy towards the end, playing not to lose instead of trying to win. Poor execution and some hairy backcourt sequences nearly allowed a monumental meltdown. But the Wizards managed to close the contest out in a game they led from start to finish.
Beal finished with 23 points, five rebounds, and six assists. While Kuzma and KP both tallied double-doubles, combining for 37 points and 23 rebounds between them. Barton led the Wizards scorers off the bench with 17.
Washington suits up again on Friday in a 7 p.m. tilt against the Chicago Bulls, who will potentially be missing Zach LaVine from their lineup.