WASHINGTON (AP)Kyle Kuzma had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and the Washington Wizards scored the game’s first nine points in a 112-106 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Washington has won three in a row, and the Wizards won for a second consecutive night without star guard Bradley Beal, who was out because of health and safety protocols. This is Washington’s first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row to cap a 10-3 start.
Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said he didn’t realize how close Kuzma was to a triple-double until the end.
”He’s been able to rack up a number of very impressive performances,” Unseld said. ”Just another one in the bucket.”
Kuzma wasn’t the only player to fall an assist shy of a triple-double. Cole Anthony had 19 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the NBA-worst Magic. Orlando has lost 10 in a row to fall to 7-35.
”What I like the most about what Cole did tonight was, his shot wasn’t falling early on,” Orlando coach Jamahl Mosley said. ”You look at him having nine assists, and then doing things that we’ve asked him to do on the glass.”
A night after outlasting Oklahoma City in a back-and-forth affair, the Wizards led wire-to-wire against last-place Orlando. Rookie Corey Kispert made a layup and a 3-pointer during Washington’s early nine-point run.
The Wizards shot 68% from the field in the first quarter and led 33-16. Thomas Bryant pushed the lead to 20 with a 3 early in the second.
Bryant played for the first time this season after recovering from an ACL injury.
”My legs feel great, my knee feels great,” Bryant said. ”Overall, I just really feel fantastic. I feel well conditioned.”
It was 52-43 at halftime, and Orlando pulled within six in the third quarter before a 12-2 run put the Wizards up 68-52.
The lead was just five in the fourth before a dunk and a layup by Montrezl Harrell made it 103-94.
”Down the stretch, it felt like everybody else, they were doing a good job, but I felt like I blew some crucial plays,” Orlando’s Robin Lopez said. ”I thought other guys, they were great. I think they were really on top of it.”
Unseld didn’t have much to say about a report of an altercation between Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Harrell on the way to the locker room at halftime of the previous night’s game. The Athletic, citing unidentified sources, reported the two needed to be separated by teammates.
”I think it happens every now and then, but it’s not anything worth commenting on or making a big deal of,” Unseld said. ”Guys are competitive.”
Harrell would not comment on the incident.
Magic: Terrence Ross scored 17 points. It was another strong game after he scored 20 consecutive points for Orlando in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Wizards.
Wizards: This was the second game of an eight-game homestand.
Magic: At Charlotte on Friday night.
Wizards: Host Portland on Saturday night.
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