DETROIT, MI - MARCH 7: Bradley Beal #3 and Jordan Goodwin #7 of the Washington Wizards high five during the game against the Detroit Pistons on March 7, 2023 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)(Brian Sevald)

Recap: Gafford's buzzer-beating tip-in lifts Wizards over Pistons 119-117

The Wizards came into Detroit looking to snap out of a two-game funk, and thanks to Daniel Gafford's buzzer-beating tip-in, they were able to do just that. Final score: Wizards 119, Pistons 117. Bradley Beal led the way for the Wizards with a game-high 32 points.


The Wizards received quality starts on offense from multiple guys on Tuesday night. Beal was looking sharp, and Kristaps Porzingis was doing his usual first-quarter stuff, scoring eight early points. In spite of all of that, Corey Kispert managed to have the most impactful start to this game.

Kispert checked in midway through the first quarter and launched a three shortly after. He missed that shot, but it was clear that he just needed one to warm up -- a quick shot to calibrate himself. After that first miss, he got scorching hot. In fact, he didn't miss another shot for the rest of the game, knocking down his next four 3-pointers over a five-minute stretch. He racked up 12 points in a hurry.

After cashing four straight triples, the Pistons altered their defense and stuck on Kispert like glue. In the second half, Kispert adjusted and took his scoring inside the arc, converting on a pair of timely layups. He led the way for the bench unit, scoring 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 shooting from deep.


Two guys that didn't fill up the scoring column but made huge impacts on the game were the Wizards' two point guards: Delon Wright and Jordan Goodwin.

Wright was his normal disruptive self on defense, grabbing three steals in the first quarter and staying active on the glass. He didn't score a single point in the first half but was still one of the most important players on the court with his rebounding, passing, and defense. Wright finished the game with three points, three rebounds, six assists, five steals, and one block in 32 minutes.

Similar to Wright, Goodwin didn't have a huge impact on the box score, but he made his presence known. He only played 16 minutes and only scored six points, but he was putting pressure on the rim, finding open teammates (six assists), and hounding the Pistons' ball handlers.


Despite the Wizards getting some important contributions from the role players, the Pistons still found themselves hanging around. They played extremely hard all night long and never gave in. At halftime, the Pistons held a 58-53 lead.

In the third quarter, Kyle Kuzma inserted himself into the conversation. He had a relatively quiet first half (seven points) but looked determined to make a bigger difference in the second half. Kuzma had a nice third quarter, dropping eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field (including two big threes), and then started the fourth quarter like a madman, scoring eight points in a 70-second stretch.

Kuzma gave the Wizards a big-time energy boost in the second half and helped get them back on track. He finished the game with 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field.


The star of this game was none other than Beal, who was in complete control all night long. Whether it was creating for teammates, attacking mismatches, scoring from the midrange, getting to the cup, or extending his range, Beal looked cool, calm, and collected -- never bothered.

When it mattered most, Beal was even better, trading buckets with Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey in clutch time. Beal finished the night with a game-high 32 points on an uber-efficient 14-of-21 shooting from the field to go along with seven boards and seven dimes.


After carrying the Wizards' offense for the majority of the night, Beal had a chance to put the game away in the final seconds. With about 15 seconds remaining and the score tied, Beal was dribbling the ball at the top of the key, surveying the landscape.

With just a few ticks left on the clock, Beal made his move, attacking hard to the right side of the court. He pulled up for a floater with about two seconds remaining, but it was off to the left. It looked like the game was headed for overtime, until Gafford skyed into the picture, grabbed the board, and put in the game-winning tip-in off the glass. Onions.

"The shot was there, [and] Gaff did a great job of working behind the defense to get the offensive rebound," said Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. "Maybe a little lucky, but to his credit, he made a play."

The Wizards have another quick turnaround as the Hawks come to D.C. on Wednesday evening.