Pushed to the brink of a long losing streak by a pesky Pistons squad in Detroit, the Washington Wizards need a spark to snap out of a skid that had seen them drop three in a row and four of their last five. Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma combined to provide that spark, taking over in overtime to secure the much-needed victory.
Brad and Kuzma combined for 51 points, including 10 of Washington’s 13 in the extra session, as the Wizards picked up a 119-116 overtime road win in Detroit. After the game, Brad stressed the importance of simply putting up a W, by any means necessary, to snap out of the funk the Wiz had been in.
“Just a good win,” he said. “We battled it out. It wasn’t pretty, but we did everything necessary to win the game. Hats off to our guys. Worked tremendously hard the whole night. It wasn’t easy. Hats off to Detroit. We were both in the same little funk.”
Coming back to The District with a…
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) December 9, 2021
No. 3 finished the night with 25 points, six rebounds and three assists. Interestingly, he did all of his damage from inside the three-point line, by creating separation for his mid-range and finishing contested layups. His aggressiveness also led to him getting eight free throw attempts.
Washington actually trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, and eight at halftime, threatening to drop their fourth straight if they didn’t find another gear fast. Coach Wes Unseld Jr.’s statement to the Wizards at the break echoed the importance of finishing.
“The message was [the Pistons] were playing with more desperation than we were,” Unseld said. “And they’ve been struggling. But yet so have we. So who wants it more?”
Washington responded with a 37-point third frame to take the lead. They built it up as high as 13 points in the early stages of the fourth, but rather than put the Pistons away, they took their foot off the gas and Detroit was resilient.
The Wizards were clinging to a five-point lead with two minutes left in regulation, and Frank Jackson’s three pointer made it a two-point game.
Brad had a big bucket with 31 seconds left to double the lead, but Isaiah Stewart answered with a quick bucket and a backcourt violation by Brad, followed by a foul from Spencer Dinwiddie in the closing seconds allowed Jerami Grant to hit two free throws to tie the game at 106 and send it to overtime.
Kuzma hit a three early in OT to push the score to 109-106, and after a couple of free throws from Brad, the Wizards had a three-point lead with three minutes left. However, top draft pick Cade Cunningham, kept responding after each Wizards bucket and with 58 seconds left hit a two pointer tie up the game at 114.
Brad followed with a stepback jumper off an assist from Kuzma to take the lead back, but Cunningham quickly responded to tie it again. However, he gave Washington the opportunity to have the final shot.
In the final seconds of the game Detroit sent multiple defenders at Beal in order to get the ball out of his hands, but Washington moved the ball efficiently and got Kuzma an open look in the corner to knock down the game-winner.
The Wizards will look to string together a streak on Saturday when they host the Utah Jazz at Capital One Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Washington.