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Wizards Make Run at the End, Still Fall Short to Magic, 127-119

Orlando’s Paulo Banchero Keeps the Wizards Kyle Kuzma in Check as the Orlando Topped the Wizards, 127-119

Story By: Sol Tucker

Photos By: Sol Tucker

Washington, D.C–

If the Wizards thought they might be getting a W as a late Christmas present from Orlando, the final few minutes of the game said otherwise as they fell again to the Orlando Magic, 127-119.

Jordan Poole made a valiant effort to save his team in the fourth quarter scoring 18 of his 30-game high points in the quarter.

The Magic led by as many as nine several times in the third before Banchero hit a left-handed layup for the last shot of the third quarter to give Orlando a 98-88 lead.

Washington trailed by as many as 17 in the fourth quarter, but an 11-0 run capped by Jones’ 3-pointer made it 117-111 with 3:10 remaining. Poole hit a pair of free throws with 2:02 remaining to cut the deficit to four and did so again on a dunk with just under a minute to play, but that’s the closest Washington would come in the game.

One of the biggest differences in the Wizards winning or losing this game came down to the points in the paint. Orlando scored 70 of their 127 points in the paint tonight. Folks, you just don’t win many games in the NBA like that.

Orland was also able to force the Wizards into 21 turnovers in the game.

“Overall, I think schematically we did the right things,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “Clean up on a couple of those turnovers and some of the transition opportunities and paint points, I think it’s a different ballgame.

Washington also saw another one of its star players, Kyle Kuzma struggle in the first half of the game. Kuz was an abysmal 2 or 10 from the field and went to the locker room with just five points. Perhaps he could possibly blame it on the “Swiftie” curse, as just as Travis Kelce has struggled with Taylor Swift in attendance during the past few games, Kuz’s girlfriend, Winnie Harlow was courtside tonight. However, he did emerge in the second half with a new look on the game.

“I just didn’t play well,” Kuzma said. “If I would have found more of a rhythm, we probably would have won because everybody else played well.”

Washington doesn’t have much time to regroup as the Raptors are in town tomorrow night. The Raptors are not the same as the old Raptors the Wizards battled just a few years ago and have a 2-8 record over their past 10 games.


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