After taking care of business against the Indiana Pacers to start off the season, the Washington Wizards couldn’t duplicate their success on Friday night as they fell, 127-117.
Washington took a 13-8 lead during the opening minutes, but it didn’t last for very long. Fueled by the three-ball, Indiana went off on a 22-2 run that pushed their lead to 15.
The Wizards managed to limit the damage by the end of the quarter, 36-28, scoring five points in the final 16 seconds capped by a Kyle Kuzma buzzer-beating three.
KUZMA FROM DEEP AT THE BUZZER!!! pic.twitter.com/v8EQdsjGHZ— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) October 29, 2022
But the Pacers didn’t let up. After never allowing more than 57 points in any half this season, the Wizards gave up 39 points in the second quarter to trail 75-60 lead at the half. Was Delon Wright single-handedly anchoring our whole defense this entire time?
The onslaught of three-pointers is what gave Indiana their lead, but the inability to defend without fouling is what allowed it to balloon the way that it did. The Pacers took 16 free throws in the second quarter alone, going 21-for-22 in the first two frames.
Washington made a push in the third quarter thanks to their Big 3. Kuzma, Bradley Beal, and Kristaps Porzingis scored or assisted on 26 of the team’s 30 points, getting the good guys to as close as seven. They trailed 101-90 heading into the final 12.
Myles Turner, who missed the season opener against the Wizards, thwarted any comeback attempts early in the fourth. He tormented the home team, swatting shots and turning into prime Jermaine O’Neal with a jumper. Turner scored 11 straight points for the Pacers, including the first eight in the final quarter to push their lead back to 17.
Washington threatened with five minutes to go, cutting the deficit to six. But they would get no closer as Turner and Tyrese Haliburton slammed the door shut. Their trio with Buddy Hield combined for a whopping 77 points.
Beal had his best offensive game of the season, posting 31 points on an efficient 11-for-18 shooting clip. Porzingis tallied 22 points of his own while Kuzma finished with 18 points to go along with nine boards.
If it’s any consolation, Johnny Davis did score his first two points via an awkward looking midrange jumper with 47 seconds left.
The Wizards will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday against the defending East champion Boston Celtics.