Recap: Bryant returns, Kuzma nears triple-double in Wizards win over Magic
FINAL: WIZARDS 112 | MAGIC 106
The Wizards earned their third-straight win on Wednesday night, defeating the Magic 112-106 at Capital One Arena. Washington was led by Kyle Kuzma, who nearly notched the first triple-double of his career, finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Over his last nine games, Kuzma is averaging 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, shooting 54.2% from the floor.
The Wizards started game on 9-0 run and carried that hot start through the entire opening frame. Washington shot 13-19 (.684) from the field in the first quarter, held Orlando to 7-28 (.250) shooting and led 33-16 going into the second quarter.
The Wizards were playing without Bradley Beal (health and safety protocols) for the second-consecutive game, but saw another important contributor return to the lineup. Thomas Bryant, playing in his first game action since suffering an ACL injury on January 9, 2021, checked into the game to start the second quarter. Bryant, whose ability to stretch the floor will be a welcome boost for the Wizards’ offense, knocked down a 3-pointer just over a minute into his time on the court. Bryant went on to finish the night with six points on 2-2 (1.000) from the floor, 1-1 (1.000) from three, one rebound and one assist in 11:30 on the court.
“It felt great,” Bryant said postgame. “To be out there with the team and try to get a flow with them – it felt great.”
“He looked good,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of Bryant postgame. “I know it’s tough when the minutes are segmented and you don’t get that long stretch. But just to have him out there in a live game, getting a feel for it, getting back to that rhythm. It was good for him. I was pleased with how he performed and where he is right now.
Bryant’s debut 3-pointer extended Washington’s lead to 20 early in the second quarter, an advantage that Orlando would slowly chip away at throughout the frame. Terrence Ross, who scored 32 against the Wizards in the teams’ matchup earlier this week, knocked down a three shortly before half to help pull Orlando within seven points.
After Orlando cut the lead to 56-50 in the opening minutes of the third quarter, the Wizards answered with a 12-2 run to pull ahead 68-52 – a double-digit lead they held until a deep jumper from Ross with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Magic didn’t stop there, whittling the lead down to five points before driving buckets on consecutive possessions from Montrezl Harrell and a 3-pointer from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope put Washington back up by double-digits. Harrell put home an and-one dunk in transition with six seconds left in the game to seal the win.
Spencer Dinwiddie put forth another steady night, finishing with 17 points, four assists and zero turnovers – the third-straight game he’s gone without a turnover, tied for the second-longest streak of his career.