Kyle Kuzma Scores 32 Points, Wizards Hold off Trail Blazers 118-117
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points and the Washington Wizards held off the Portland Trail Blazers 118-117 on Thursday night for their fifth victory of the season.
Tyus Jones added 16 points, Daniel Gafford had 14 points and eight rebounds and Jordan Poole and Deni Advija each had 11 points. Washington is 5-22.
“We showed a little bit of mental and physical fortitude to make enough plays to win the game,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “It’s great to come away from a win, regardless of how you get it.”
Anfernee Simons scored 22 of his 41 points for Portland in the fourth quarter. Deandre Ayton had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Jerami Grant added 20 points. Grant missed a driving layup at the buzzer, dropping the Trail Blazers to 7-20.
Washington opened with an 8-0 run, with Portland turning it over three times in the first 1:30. Things didn’t get much cleaner from there for the Trail Blazers, who had 15 turnovers that led to 21 Washington points.
“The first half, we came out terrible,” Portland coach Chauncey Billups said. “We talked about it all day, we tried to prepare the guys for it, knowing the pace they play is difficult. They get up and down and run.”
The Wizards led by 18 in the second half before Portland rallied behind Simons to tie it. Washington regained the lead again and Portland, after a successful challenge overturning a foul on Matisse Thybulle, had the ball with 5.8 seconds remaining trailing by one. Grant then missed his driving layup at the buzzer.
Wizards: At Golden State on Friday night.
Trail Blazers: At Golden State on Saturday night.