Thanks to the flourishing combination of Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma, the Washington Wizards ended their longest road trip of the season on a high note.
Brad was an efficient 10-of-16 from the field, totaling 24 points and Kuzma led all scorers with 32 points while grabbing nine rebounds as Wizards topped the contending Kings 125-111.
The Wizards started this six-game trip without both Brad and Kristaps Porzingis, and Porzingis returned on Friday. The two joined Delon Wright and Rui Hachimura, who both returned earlier in the trip, putting Washington at full strength for the first time in a long time, something that could prove to be a boost as the calendar turns to a new year in a few short days.
“It’s good [to win] going into the holiday, especially going back home. It’s been a long trip, challenging. We didn’t have a lot of bodies at the beginning of the trip, and we finish with a lot of guys [back] so that’s definitely beneficial to be able to see D-Wright come back, KP get back, I came back, and Rui as well. So now we’ve got a lot of guys who are really key rotational players for us and we were able to implement them and work them back into the game. It’s definitely beneficial to have that happen before this little break.
The game turned in the second quarter as the Wizards shot a crisp 60 percent from the field and piled up 40 points while locking down on the defensive end and limiting a Kings team that ranks second in the league in points per game to just 23 points on 8-of-19 from the field. That gave Washington an 18-point halftime lead. A hot start by Kuzma in the third pushed the lead to 28 and when Brad sank a mid-range jumper with just under eight to go in the third, the lead was 30. BB then ended a quick 7-0 run by the Kings with a pair of free throws and on the next Wizards possession buried a trey.
The result was academic from there and the win on the road, over another team in playoff contention in the Western Conference, just three days after they defeated the Suns in Phoenix, bodes well for Washington’s prospects as they return after the mini Christmas break. But Brad isn’t counting on anything and he knows the Wizards (13-21) have created a tough hill for themselves to climb.
“Only time will tell. I can’t predict the future. We can only take it a game at a time. I’m not going to get too high, not going to get too low. We’ve still got to dig ourselves out of a hole and got a lot of ground to makeup. It’s definitely great to get guys back but we still gotta cleanup some stuff and be better.
The Wizards will return to action on Tuesday, December 27 as they kick off a brief two-game homestead against the Philadelphia 76ers.