Story By: Sol Tucker
Photos By: Sol Tucker
It may have taken a few games to get Kristaps Porzingis on the floor for the first time in a Wizards uniform and he didn’t hold back in showing what he can bring to this team. His 25 points was all the Wizards needed to knock off the struggling Pacers, 133-123, who fell to 7-26 on the road for the season.
It was his first game overall since Jan. 29. He started and played a significant role despite playing only 21:19.
“Happy to be out there with a minutes restriction,” Porzingis said. “I tried to stay calm, not to do too much, play the right way. Most importantly, we got the win.’
Porzingis had the fans out of their seats with a monster block in the first half and he finished the game late in the fourth quarter with a one handed dunk that basically said I am back and ready to help this team do something these next two months.
Kyle Kuzma added 23 points for the Wizards, who took control of the game with a 39-point third quarter. Washington pulled within two games of Brooklyn, Charlotte and Atlanta, who would occupy the last three spots in the Eastern Conference play-in round if the season ended now.
“We just have to keep this energy on this road trip,” said Wizards Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr. The Wizards have a four game road trip that has them visiting the Clippers on Wednesday, Lakers on Friday and wrapping up on Monday with the Warriors.
For the Pacers, they are still trying to find their identity after the trade deadline. Malcom Brogdon scored 27 points for the Pacers, who have lost 11 of 14.
“Just finding gaps in the defense, trying to be aggressive,” said Brogdon, who went 11 of 13 on free throws. “This team needs scoring, so that’s what I’m trying to provide.”