WASHINGTON (AP)Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points, and the Washington Wizards overcame Bradley Beal’s back issues to beat the Detroit Pistons 120-99 on Tuesday night.
Beal was limited to 21:49 because of back tightness, although he was able to return late in the third quarter after missing the entire second. The Wizards actually broke the game open without him and cruised to a lopsided victory.
”It’s always tough to go a stretch without Brad,” coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. ”He was able to come back into the game and kind of gave us some life. The changing defenses throughout – last season gave us a lot of problems. I thought we handled it a little better tonight.”
Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points for the Wizards, Will Barton contributed 16 and Beal was able to finish with 13.
Beal scored 11 in the fourth quarter.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 25 points and Cade Cunningham added 19.
The Wizards led 56-49 at halftime and went on a 16-5 run in the third that pushed the lead to 17 points. A 3-pointer by Monte Morris made it 76-59.
Playing against an opponent with nobody taller than 6-foot-9 in the starting lineup, the 7-foot-3 Porzingis had a productive game. He threw down a one-handed alley-oop dunk from Beal in the first quarter and finished 8 of 13 from the field.
After falling behind big in the third, the Pistons were never able to get closer than eight. They had the lead down to nine in the fourth when Beal made a fadeaway jumper while being fouled. The three-point play put Washington up 93-81 with 9:21 remaining.
The Wizards won 10 of their first 13 games last season and have won three of their first four in 2022-23.
Johnny Davis, the Wizards’ first-round draft pick this season, played 2:54 and missed both of his shot attempts. Davis was the No. 10 pick out of Wisconsin. He did not play in any of Washington’s first three games.
Although the Wizards led comfortably for much of the second half, Porzingis would have liked to see his team put the game out of reach earlier.
”Decent win for us – a game that we’re supposed to win and we took care of business,” he said. ”Would have been better if we got the lead earlier and not let them stay around in the game. … That way we could give more minutes to the guys that maybe don’t play as many minutes.”
Pistons: Marvin Bagley III (right knee sprain) did not play. … Isaiah Stewart scored 13 points and Jaden Ivey had 11.
Wizards: Corey Kispert (left ankle sprain) was out. … Beal finished with six assists, extending his career-best streak of games with at least five to 21. … Rui Hachimura scored 10 points. … The Wizards shot 52% from the field. … Unseld said after the game that Delon Wright was dealing with hamstring issues. He played 16:04 and scored five points.
Pistons: Host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
Wizards: Host the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
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