NBA: Kuzma scores 32 points, Wizards hold on to top Heat

NBA: Kuzma scores 32 points, Wizards hold on to top Heat

/ 11:19 AM March 11, 2024

Kyle Kuzma Wizards beat Heat NBA

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma goes to the basket past Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and forward Nikola Jovic during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI — Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points and the Washington Wizards held on to beat the Miami Heat 110-108 on Sunday night for their second win in a row after ending a 16-game skid.

Corey Kispert finished with 22 points, Deni Avdija added 16 and Tyus Jones had 12 points and 16 assists for the Wizards, who got their first road victory since Jan. 29, ending an eight-game skid away from home.

“We have to stay consistent. That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year — inconsistency,” Kuzma said. “We’ve been consistently inconsistent. If we can keep showing that type of fight and grit, next game against Memphis, then I might have a different answer.”

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Kuzma made 12 of 16 free throws and had nine rebounds and four of Washington’s 35 assists, four short of a team season high. Jones finished with one turnover.

READ: Wizards snap 16-game losing streak with win over Hornets

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, while Duncan Robinson, Terry Rozier and Bam Adebayo each finished with 16 for the Heat, who lost their third straight and fell to eighth in the East.

Kuzma had 3-pointers that began and closed a 22-10 spurt that gave Washington a 110-100 lead with 2:45 remaining.

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“You get to the last six minutes of the game and you don’t want to give anybody anything,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Any kind of air space, especially when we’re playing possession games. You don’t want to dare anybody and they made us pay for that.”

The Wizards shot 16 of 39 on 3-pointers, including 6 of 9 in the fourth quarter.

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“We try to get 40. That’s been our minimum goal for each game,” Washington interim coach Brian Keefe said. “We shot it really well in the second half.”

READ: Wizards tie franchise record with 16th straight loss

Miami rallied with eight straight points capped by Caleb Martin’s layup with 32 seconds left that ended the Heat’s spurt.

Kuzma was called for an offensive foul, giving Miami a final possession at the possible tie or go-ahead 3-pointer. But Robinson and Butler missed 3-pointers, earning Washington the victory.

“We played their game more than we played ours,” Butler said. “An up and down pickup game, and they’re good at that. They made shots tonight and we didn’t guard and that’s the league.”

Trailing since late in the first quarter, the Wizards took the lead for good on Kuzma’s 3-pointer with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter that made it 91-90.

“We’re focused on our internal growth,” Keefe said. “That’s been the big thing – getting better every day. From each practice, each game, each shootaround.”

The Heat had won 11 of 14 before its current skid.

“We have to sustain the right level of play,” Rozier said “We’ve got to have a way that we want to play and sustain throughout the whole game.”

Patty Mills’ layup midway through the second quarter put the Heat ahead 43-32.

The Wizards rallied and narrowed it to 52-48 on Avdija’s layup with 34 seconds left before Adebayo’s driving hook gave Miami a six-point lead at the break.

The Heat were without guard Tyler Herro (right foot medial tendinitis) and forward Kevin Love (right heel bruise), who missed their eighth and sixth consecutive games, respectively.

Wizards forward Marvin Bagley III sat out his third straight because of lower back spasms, while a left toe sprain sidelined Washington forward Richaun Holmes.

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NEXT SCHEDULE

Wizards: Play at Memphis on Tuesday.

Heat: Host Denver on Wednesday.

TAGS: NBA, Washington Wizards

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