Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis Fuel Wizards’ Win vs. Trail Blazers

Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

During the Tuesday night NBA slate, Kyle Kuzma scored 33 points and hit six 3-pointers as the Washington Wizards beat the Portland Trail Blazers 126-101. Kristaps Porzingis had a big game, too, as he scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

“We’re making strides. I think we did a good job,” Kuzma said. “I think the biggest way — we talk about efficiency — is just the way we were playing, playing the right way, playing extra pass basketball, moving the ball around. That’s going to cause a lot of efficient nights because you’re getting quality shots.”

Kuzma tweeted: “Feels good to be back hoopin.”

A 39-point, 10-rebound, six-assist performance from Damian Lillard led the Blazers. Afernee Simons added 17 points, but was forced to leave the game after injuring his right ankle late in the third quarter. The X-rays were negative, according to Blazers coach Chauncey Billups.

“Once I saw him stay down, I was definitely concerned. That makes things tougher for us,” Lillard said.

Due to the concussion protocol and Jusuf Nurkic’s left calf strain, the Blazers were already playing without Jerami Grant.

The Wizards held the biggest lead of the second half at the end of the game. With 8:11 left, Cam Reddish made a 3-pointer that brought the Blazers within 105-90. At 5:14, Portland was closer at 107-97 thanks to Shaedon Sharpe.

The Trail Blazers’ momentum was slowed by a flagrant foul and a technical on Lillard. During his career, Lillard had never been flagrantly fouled before.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards & Portland Trail Blazers Updates

For the second straight game, recent Trail Blazers trade acquisitions, Reddish and Matisse Thybulle, played together after both were acquired via trade last week.

Lillard hit a 3-pointer from nearly half court at the buzzer to give the Trail Blazers a 31-24 lead after Kuzma hit a pair of 3-pointers to put the Wizards in the lead after the first quarter. Kuzma missed four games with a left ankle sprain.

A ball chase ended with Lillard colliding with some sideline seats, but he came away without injury. The Wizards led 59-52 at halftime on Kuzma’s 19 points. Their first-half shooting execution was strong as they shot 60.5 percent overall.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, Washington Wizards & Portland Trail Blazers Updates

In the third quarter, Bradley Beal hit a 3-pointer to give the Wizards a 72-60 lead. At the end of the third quarter, they led 97-80. As the buzzer sounded, Kuzma hit a three-quarter court three. Portland was unable to rally back.

“I took some extra time (off from the injury) and I thought I thought that was really, really worth it for me to come out and play the type of game I did today,” Kuzma said. “Just feeling healthy. Felt good.”

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