The Washington Wizards end their short series in Japan winless against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors, falling in their second showdown, 104-95.
The Wizards appeared to be in midseason form to start off the contest, bricking every three-pointer they put up early. They went 0-for-7 from distance in the first quarter and missed their first 10 triples before Monte Morris drained one midway through the second.
But despite that, Washington played the Dubs pretty even through the first two frames. They trailed, 26-25, entering the second and held a 56-54 lead at halftime, thanks in large part to Golden State committing 15 turnovers in the first half alone. While part of that was due to some carelessness from the Warriors side, coach Wes Unseld Jr. had his guys active on D similar to how the team looked to start off last season. Here’s to hoping it’s here to stay this time around.
Rui Hachimura also made some highlight-worthy plays early to excite his hometown crowd, putting Andrew Wiggins in the weight room with a pair of grown-man and-1s. He finished the contest with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Rui Hachimura coast-to-coast for another and-1 on Andrew Wiggins pic.twitter.com/YNHEKHG37M— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) October 2, 2022
The Wizards kept their starters in through the third quarter, where things started to click against a still-talented Warriors reserve unit. Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis synced up to spearhead a 12-2 run, starting off with a sweet dish from KP to KK for the slam to begin the quarter:
.@kporzee @kylekuzma pic.twitter.com/K8ZPZoEbw1— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 2, 2022
It was all smiles from the Wizards bench up until the fourth quarter, where they were able to build a 16-point lead off a pair of Jordan Schakel free throws with 9:54 remaining. That’s when the Warriors’ third-string unit of youngsters came alive.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Mac McClung, and Pat Spencer combined for 21 points in the from that point on as they were able to flip the script on Washington with a whopping 30-5 run to seal the win.
Monte Morris and Will Barton
If there was one evident aspect that stood out during the relevant minutes of the game, it’s the new offensive dimension Will Barton and Monte Morris (aka Kyle Kuzma’s childhood friend, as Drew Gooden reminds us every five minutes) bring to the Wizards side. The former Denver Nuggets duo combined for 20 points in the first half and provided offensive stability with Beal out of the lineup.
.@BigGameTae takes it coast-to-coast ✈️— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 2, 2022
11 PTS | 3 STL pic.twitter.com/irP4Xev4ks
It’s hard not to be encouraged with what Porzingis showed in his 22 minutes of action. He led the Wizards in scoring with 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting and was also able to rack up two steals and two blocks in that span. He showed unmistakeable mobility and contested a few shots at the rim that didn’t end up as blocked shots on the stat sheet. He also looked spry on offense, decisively attacking closeouts and moving off the ball.
- Corey Kispert suffered an ankle injury late in the first quarter after attacking Jonathan Kuminga on a fast break layup. He was ruled out of the game and immediately asked for a sub after landing on the play. He’ll be flying halfway across the world with that bum ankle.
Added challenge in dealing with Kispert’s ankle — the Wizards are taking off for DC directly after the game, so Kispert will get treatment in the air. Unseld Jr. said he doesn’t have an idea of the severity of the sprain but saw there was some swelling. https://t.co/4a1NsCfEvS— Ava Wallace (@avarwallace) October 2, 2022
- Johnny Davis once again looked helplessly overmatched during his time on the court. He didn’t make a single shot despite playing the second most minutes on the team, missing all seven of his attempts.
With the conclusion of the 2022 Japan Games, the Wizards will have a lengthy hiatus from preseason play. Their next contest will be on Monday, October 10th against the Charlotte Hornets.