Kyle Kuzma, strong play off the bench helped Wizards snap a 4-game losing streak with a 132-116 win over the Hornets
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (AP) – Kyle Kuzma The Washington Wizards scored 33 points and made 18 3-pointers to beat the Charlotte Hornets 132-116 on Wednesday night and end a four-game losing streak.
Danilo Gallinari And Dillon Wright They each added 18 points, and Landry Shamet added 15 points, as the Washington reserves beat Charlotte 72-23.
“The bench was unbelievable,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. They have shown us breakthroughs in this young season. It’s comforting to know that you have players who can step in and influence the game offensively and defensively, stem the tide and stop the run.
Kuzma, who entered the game averaging 23.7 points, has made four 3s in each of his last three games and has taken on the role of team leader even with the addition of free agent Jordan Poole.
He’s shooting 45% from beyond the arc in November.
“I have to praise the substitute players, they played great tonight,” Kuzma said. “…Those guys have been great for us and have pushed us to wins.”
LaMelo Ball, who had a 30-point triple-double in the loss to Dallas, scored a season-high 34 points for the Hornets. Gordon Hayward added 18 points for Charlotte. Brandon Miller, the No. 2 overall pick this year, had 13 points in his first home game.
Both teams are 2-5.
The Hornets led 29-24 after the first quarter, but things quickly unraveled. The Wizards opened the second quarter on a 34-9 run, and led 65-46 at halftime with Kuzma’s 20-point lead.
“Second quarter defense was big for us,” Unseld said.
The Wizards entered the game having given up 130.7 points per game over four games, including 146 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
So, this was a welcome improvement.
The Hornets would rally to cut the deficit to eight in the third quarter behind Hayward, who took over with drives and aggressive jump shots. But Charlotte couldn’t keep the momentum going, and the Wizards quickly cut the lead to 22 behind 3s by Gallinari and Corey Kispert and a two-handed dunk by Shamet over the ball.
The Hornets are still short on resources with Terry Rozier and Cody Martin out with injuries, and Miles Bridges still serving a 10-game suspension, so they’re trying to weather the storm until they get some help from the bench.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said that the biggest problem his team faces is defense, especially when the opponent comes out with five goals.
“It was an issue for us. We had different things we were doing and sometimes it worked, but obviously it didn’t work tonight,” Clifford said.
Despite the slow start, Clifford is excited that the ball seems to be getting back into shape after a slow start.
“You can see his rhythm and his pick-and-roll is really improving,” Clifford said. “And he plays good defense. He works hard on the defensive end.”
The two teams will meet again on Friday evening in Washington in an NBA championship game.
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