Wizards fall to Kings despite Kyle Kuzma’s 33 points

Wizards fall to Kings despite Kuzma’s 33 points originally appeared on NBC SportsWashington

WASHINGTON — The Washington Wizards lost to the Sacramento Kings 132-118 on Saturday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down…

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The Wizards are not playing their best basketball at an inopportune time, with the postseason race winding down. Compounding matters was an especially brutal back-to-back this weekend against two of the NBA’s six-best teams based on record.

The Wizards lost both of them in lopsided fashion, first to the Cavs on Friday night in Cleveland and then to the Kings on Saturday night at home. That makes five losses in six games, as Washington continues to trend in the wrong direction.

This losing skid has left the Wizards at 32-39 on the season overall. They began the day a half-game back from the Bulls in the final play-in spot.

Kuzma played through pain

There was a scary moment early in this game, as Kyle Kuzma appeared to tweak his foot or ankle near the fans sitting courtside. He hobbled straight to the locker room and seemed to be in a good deal of discomfort. This came just the day after he returned against the Cavaliers from a right knee injury. He’s also, obviously, a very important part of what they do.

Kuzma, though, came back not long after and immediately proved he was okay with a chase down block. Kuzma would go on to score 20 points in the first half and 33 for the game. He also shot 12-for-23 and added seven rebounds. It was actually a very solid night for him, even if he was probably gutting it out to an extent.

Porzingis was out

Adding to the challenge the Wizards faced on Saturday against the Kings is they were without Kristaps Porzingis, one of their best players. Porzingis sat out due to a non-COVID illness and was not with the team. That could be a matter of his symptoms and also if the Wizards think he is contagious, as they do n’t want anything to spread throughout the locker room.

Head coach Wes Unseld Jr. didn’t go into detail on what Porzingis is dealing with, but seemed to think he won’t be out long. The Wizards have two days off before their next game, so Porzingis has an opportunity to rest up and possibly not miss time anymore. We should know more on Monday when they practice ahead of their flight to Orlando.

Kings can score

The reason why the Kings are set to make the playoffs for the first time since they had Peja Stojakovic is not because of their defense. In fact, they had the 26th-ranked defense entering this game. No, it’s entirely about their offense, which is the best in the NBA both in terms of points scored and offensive rating. They can turn up the octane and quickly.

The Wizards found that out firsthand in the first quarter of this game. Washington broke out to a 23-13 lead, only to find themselves down 32-27 about four minutes later. Keegan Murray and Terence Davis traded off threes for a 15-0 run to make that happen. Sacramento had 12 threes in the first half and 22 for the game, shooting a fairly ridiculous 59.5% from deep. The Wizards just couldn’t keep up.

Terence Davis…?

Speaking of Davis, had you heard of him before? He’s not usually a key scorer for the Kings, as he averages 6.5 points per game. But he caught lightning in a bottle in the first half with 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including four threes. He ended up with 21 points and seven rebounds. It was an impressive display.

The Wizards, from what I heard, highlighted him during their walkthrough before the game. It’s not like he was so low on the depth chart and he got lost in the sauce. But he also may have caught them by surprise simply by making the shots that he did. He’s a decent 3-point shooter (36.3%), but he just got unusually hot in this one.

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