Kuzma’s 28 points propel Wizard past Hornets 106-102
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Kuzma had 28 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, helping the Washington Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 106-102 on Sunday night.
Bradley Beal scored 26 points, but wasn’t on the floor for the final 9.8 seconds despite Washington being up just two points. He walked with a slight limp to the locker room before the game ended.
All five Washington starters scored in double figures. The Wizards have won six of seven.
Kelly Oubre Jr. led Charlotte with 23 points. Gordon Hayward added 18 points. The Hornets have lost 11 of 12.
An 18-point third-quarter slog by Washington allowed Charlotte to take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. The Wizards’ offense declined from potent, to middling, to stifled in the first three quarters — they scored 35, 24, and 18 points from the first to the third periods.
But an eight-point burst from Kuzma helped the Wizards to a quick 88-81 lead to open the fourth. Washington’s lead fluctuated throughout the quarter before it hung on after Terry Rozier cut the lead to two with 9.8 seconds to play.
Kristaps Porzingis and Corey Kispert each made two free throws to seal the game.
The Wizards’ three consecutive 3-pointers, two by Beal and one by Kispert, vaulted them in front 59-55 at the half. Beal led all scorers with 16 points — he was efficient scoring (7-for-10 shootin) and sloppy with the ball (five turnovers) in the first half.
Oubre’s dunk off a baseline drive put Charlotte in front 49-46 and led to a Washington timeout. The Wizards obtained Oubre Jr. with a 2016 draft-day trade. He spent three-plus seasons in Washington before being traded to the Phoenix Suns.
Oubre twice yelled toward the Wizards’ bench after scoring in the first quarter Sunday.
Hornets: PG LaMelo Ball (ankle) was out Sunday, as expected. Ball has played in just three of the Hornets’ 18 games this season. … PG Dennis Smith Jr. was available for the first time since Nov. 10 and entered the game at 6:18 of the first quarter.
Wizards: PG Monte Morris (ankle) and PF Rui Hachimura (ankle) were both out. Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said Morris played through the ankle issue earlier in the season. Hachimura had a “little tweak” in the fourth quarter Friday. … PG Jordan Goodwin (knee soreness) returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game. … Washington signed G-League player Devon Dotson to a two-way contract Sunday.
Hornets: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Wizards: At Miami on Wednesday night.
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