The Kyle Kuzma-less Washington Wizards took care of business against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, notching a 127-113 win. The victory pushed the Wizards to 26-29 and tied them with the Chicago Bulls for the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The theme of the game was HBCU night, and the Wizards honored the important role that Historically Black Colleges and Universities play in higher education, especially in the DMV. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was performed alongside the national anthem before tipoff, and the Jumbotron focused on fans adorned in HBCU gear throughout the game.
The Wizards capitalized on Indiana’s porous defense in the first quarter, shoveling in 37 points on 75% shooting from the field. Washington’s hot hands never cooled in the first half, as the team collectively shot 73.2% from the field and 52.9% from deep over the first two periods. The 80 points they scored was the Wizards’ most points in a half all season.
Though they trailed by 23 at halftime, the Pacers never turned off the gas. The Wizards fell asleep at the wheel, and the Pacers opened the second half on a 10-0 run to claw their way back into the game. As the Pacers brought the game closer, the familiar stench of a blown lead began to emanate from the corners of Capital One Arena.
The Wizards re-established their comfortable lead, however, and coasted to a 14-point win. Some highlights from the win included a couple of monster blocks from Daniel Gafford (he had four total) and a third quarter buzzer-beating three from Corey Kispert.
Seven Wizards — Beal, Kispert, Gafford, Monte Morris, Kristaps Porzingis, Deni Avdija and Jordan Goodwin — finished with double figures in scoring. Washington shot a red-hot 64% from the field and 46.2% from three.