Wizards snap losing streak with shocking win in Philly


The Washington Wizards beat the Sixers 106-103 in Philadelphia on Wednesday night. Here are five observations from what went down...

Needed win

Riding their longest losing streak in two years, the Wizards were desperate for a win on Wednesday night. They managed to get one on the road, against one of the best teams in the East and without two key players.

The Wizards were missing two starters against the Sixers with Bradley Beal out for the second straight game and Thomas Bryant sitting out with an ankle injury. Washington saw others step up, including Kyle Kuzma who had 24 points and Montrezl Harrell who added 14 points. Both made clutch baskets down the stretch. Spencer Dinwiddie also had his first career triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

Kuzma had what was essentially the game-winning play, a block on Joel Embiid with 7.4 seconds remaining. It was Kuzma's third block of the night, his second straight game with three blocks and his 10th consecutive game with at least one rejection.

The Wizards' second unit also came up huge. Washington outdid the Sixers in bench points 53-to-27.

Now the Wizards head home after a three-game road trip to host the Suns on Saturday. They are 24-27 on the season.

Kuzma kept it rolling

Kuzma is back to scoring the way he was in late December and early January, as he put in another big-time offensive game against the Sixers on Wednesday. He shot 10-for-19 from the field and 4-for-6 from three. He got hot knocking down catch-and-shoot threes in the first half while mixing in clever finishes around the basket. The latter included a play in the first quarter when he came off a screen cutting to the basket and hit a reverse right-handed shot that was way more difficult than he made it look, a testament to his confidence at the moment.


Kuzma had scored 30 and 25 in his previous two games, respectively. He's on a heater right now and it's notable it is continuing even with Beal out of the lineup. Kuzma is the Wizards' No. 1 scoring option right now, which means defenses have him at the top of their scouting reports. He hasn't been fazed by that and it's a good sign his recent play is sustainable.

Gafford got some run

With Bryant out due to a right ankle sprain he suffered the night before, the Wizards bumped Daniel Gafford from the No. 3 spot back into the starting lineup, likely to keep Harrell in his familiar role as the first guy off the bench. Gafford had a tough task awaiting him, to guard Embiid who might be the league's MVP to this point in the season. Gafford, to his credit, was able to limit Embiid early, helping hold him to a 1-for-6 start from the field.

It just didn't stay that way. Embiid is basically unstoppable at this point and he got going in the second quarter with nine points. He added 16 more points in the second half to finish with 27. Embiid also had 14 rebounds. Gafford, meanwhile, had nine points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes.  

Maxey was a problem

One reason why the Sixers remain one of the best teams in the East despite missing Ben Simmons - an All-NBA player - is because of the emergence of guard Tyrese Maxey. He has more than doubled his scoring average in his second NBA season to 16.8 points per game, while shooting 40.1% from three. Maxey was a pain for the Wizards all night, beginning with 12 points in the first quarter.

Maxey ended up with 22 points for the game along with eight rebounds and seven assists. He shot 9-for-16 overall and 2-for-4 from long range. Maxey's improvement as a 3-point shooter makes him really hard to stop because he has a super quick first step off the dribble. If defenders close out too quickly, he's gone. If they give him too much space, he has a smooth stepback move to get an open shot. At only 21 years old, the Sixers found themselves a good one. Not bad for the 21st pick in the draft.

First round picks

All three of the Wizards' most recent first round picks looked good in this one; Rui Hachimura (2019), Deni Avdija (2020) and Corey Kispert (2021). Hachimura was in rhythm offensively. He made a series of plays off the dribble and scored in a variety of ways, including a running lefty hookshot in the first half. Hachimura had 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and made one three.


Avdija did his damage on the boards with nine rebounds and did a nice job cutting to the basket. He didn't have a great shooting night (eight points, 0-4 3PT), but made his presence felt offensively by putting pressure on the rim. Kispert had 11 points and six rebounds, shooting 3-for-5 from three. He was a threat from the corner all night and it helped the Wizards add some balance to their offense. Washington shot 40.9% from three overall. Kispert also made two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to seal the game.