A stunning late dagger from Kyle Kuzma sealed a massive 100-97 win for the Washington Wizards over the Chicago Bulls.
Kuzma had the ball just after the halfway mark and Bulls star Alex Caruso defended tightly.
But Kuzma got some needed help from Wizards center Taj Gibson, who raced to set up a screen.
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The 27-year-old then advanced to the right side of the court before hopping the edge of the arc and draining the winning three-pointer with just seconds on the clock.
The Bulls were unable to muster a miracle play of their own as the Wizards held on to retain the victory and improve to an 18-24 record as the Bulls fell to 19-23.
Washington’s win was their second of 2023 and snapped a three-game losing streak as they look to continue the good times against the Knicks on Saturday.
Kuzma led the Wizards’ scoring column with 21 points, aided by Anthony Gill and Monty Morris, who scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.
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Monster tackle from Deni Avdija also played a key role in the Wizards victory, as she hit 20 rebounds.
It was an upset loss for the Bulls since they outscored the Wizards in three quarters and were up by 13 points in the first half.
However, the Wizards exploded in the third quarter with 41 points to Chicago’s 21 when the competition was turned on its head.
And although the Bulls only gave Washington 13 points in the fourth in addition to guard Zach LaVine’s 38, the Wizards fought hard and got the win they desperately needed.
JOKIC’s final “magic” pass in the big win
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets destroyed the underpowered Phoenix Suns 126-97.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic missed his 12th triple-double of the season, finishing with 21 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists on the ball court.
Jokic pulled off another amazing pass, sending an unseen pass to set up an Aaron Gordon field goal.
Denver was out of sight by halftime, scoring 70 first-half points to take a 16-point halftime lead.
The Nuggets kept up the scoring frenzy in the third quarter, increasing the lead to 32 points at one point in the third quarter as they cruised to victory.
Australian Jock Landall defended the Suns in a tough loss, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Celtics star’s high season
Jaylen Brown scored 41 points as the Boston Celtics asserted their status as an NBA team with a 125-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Eastern Conference leaders prepared for their bruising showdown against Brooklyn with a masterful performance to take down the Pelicans, the third-ranked team in the Western Conference this season.
Brown, averaging just under 27 points per game this season, once again made it big for the Celtics, shooting 15-of-21 from the field with 12 rebounds.
“It’s a long season, there’s a lot of basketball going on, day in, day out, day in — you just have to come ready to do your job,” Brown said after his season tally.
“I managed to go out and get something.”
Boston’s balanced offense proved too much for New Orleans, as Jason Tatum scored 31 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 20 off the bench.
Al Horford added 14 points for Boston, who lost starters Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III.
CJ McCollum excelled for New Orleans with 38 points while Nagy Marshall added 18 for a Pelicans lost from injuries to Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe).
Boston leads the Eastern Conference with a 30-12 record heading into Thursday’s game against the second-place Nets.
GIANNIS’ DOUBLE-DOUBLE…with the season’s low points
Meanwhile, the third-place Milwaukee Bucks continued their pursuit of the Eastern Conference leaders with a 114-105 win over the Hawks in Atlanta, as Junior Holiday led the scoring with 27 points.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was restricted to seven points on the season, but still impacted action with 18 rebounds and 10 assists.
Holiday was one of five Milwaukee players with double figures, as Brook Lopez added 20 points and Bobby Portis and Jevon Carter each scored 13. Pat Connaughton finished with 10 points.
Milwaukee looked in complete control early in the second half, jumping out to a 24-point lead in the third quarter and looking poised for a routine win.
But Atlanta routed the Bucks and finally got their first lead at the end of the fourth quarter when Bogdan Bogdanovic pulled the plug, 103-101.
Lopez restored the Bucks’ three-pointer advantage to make it 104-103 and Milwaukee re-dominated to seal the win.
“We’re resilient, we don’t like to lose,” Holiday said after the Bucks win. “Close games like that are learning moments, where we can shut down games and use it all in the future.”
in another place …
Ja Morant returned from a two-time injury layoff to score 38 points as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs, 136-129.
The Detroit Pistons moved from the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 135-118 blowout over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Siddig Bay led the scoring for Detroit with 31 points as the Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak to edge out the Charlotte Hornets at the foot of the table.
wizards 100-97 bulls
pistons 135-118 Timberwolves
Celtics 125-114 Pelican
Nix 119-113 Pacers
Hawkes 105-114 dollars
grizzly 136-129 Spurs
Kings 135-115 missiles
Nuggets 126-97 Sun