Recap: Wizards win 122-118 over Thunder behind Kuzma, Dinwiddie
FINAL: WIZARDS 122 | THUNDER 118
For the second-straight game, the Wizards earned a close win in the final minute, this time defeating the Thunder 122-118 on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. Washington was led by another clutch performance from Kyle Kuzma – a 29-point night on 12-17 (.706) shooting – and Spencer Dinwiddie’s 22 points and 10 assists.
Kuzma has now scored 20-plus points in each of his eight games and is averaging 26.6 points per game in that stretch.
“With his size, his ability to play off the bounce – he gets to a spot and he’s a big guy,” Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said postgame. “He uses his body and his leverage to create and initiate contact and it’s tough to guard.”
Dinwiddie now has six games this season with double-digit assists and three 20-10 performances. Kuzma and Dinwiddie’s big nights came with Bradley Beal out of the lineup. Beal, who has totaled 20-plus points and five-plus assists in his last nine games, entered NBA’s health and safety protocols shortly before tip.
Kuzma started hot, scoring 12 of the Wizards’ first 19 points of the night and hit his first six shots overall. Oklahoma City made their move late in the first, riding a 13-1 run on the back of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and took a lead into the second quarter. Gilgeous-Alexander was outstanding for the Thunder all night, totaling 32 points on 13-22 (.591) from the field to go along with eight assists.
Oklahoma City opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 38-31 lead before the Wizards countered with an 11-2 run minutes later to take a three-point lead of their own. The back-and-forth second quarter ended with the Thunder up 61-58 behind 18 first-half points from Gilgeous-Alexander.
Back-to-back threes from Dinwiddie and Corey Kispert helped erase what was an eight-point Thunder lead early in the third quarter. Kispert shot 2-5 (.400) from 3-point range and has now scored in double figures in three of his last six outings. Just over a minute later, Rui Hachimura, playing in his second game of the season and first in front of the Capital One Arena crowd, finished a reverse dunk along the baseline. Hachimura totaled seven points on 3-5 (.600) from the field in 15 minutes.
With the Wizards down 112-109 with just under four minutes to go, Kuzma continued his season-long run of clutch play, burying his first triple of the night to tie the game. After an Oklahoma City bucket on the other end, Montrezl Harrell, playing in his first game back since missing seven games in health and safety protocols, grabbed the offensive rebound off a Caldwell-Pope miss and put home a two-hand dunk to once again tie the game.
Kuzma came up huge for Washington in the closing minutes, totaling six points, two rebounds and an impressive block on Gilgeous-Alexander. With 2:36 left in the game, Kuzma isolated and converted a difficult turnaround hook shot to break a 114-114 tie and assisted on a Caldwell-Pope jumper on the ensuing possession to put the Wizards up four. After the Thunder scored on two-straight possessions to tie the game at 118, Caldwell-Pope banked in a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left to give the Wizards the lead for good.
“I was just pleased with how we finished the fourth,” Unseld Jr. said postgame. “That was our best defensive quarter…We got timely stops and made big plays.”