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Kyle Kuzma carries Wizards to comeback win over Rockets

Jan 25, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) drives against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Kuzma scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Washington Wizards erased a 19-point deficit en route to a 108-103 road win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

The Wizards extended their modest winning streak to four games with a scoring blitz to open the final period.

Kuzma tallied seven points during early part of the surge, a 12-2 run that knotted the score at 83-83 with 8:49 left to play. Kuzma drilled a 3-pointer as part of a four-point possession before adding a pair of free throws and a transition layup that deadlocked the score.

Kuzma was just getting started. He nailed a trio of 3-pointers following a Houston timeout, the first of those treys giving Washington its first lead of the game with 8:19 remaining. His third 3-pointer extended that margin to 94-85 and closed a 23-4 run that opened the final period of play.

Bradley Beal recorded 17 points for the Wizards. Deni Avdija (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Kendrick Nunn (12 points, four assists) paced a Washington bench unit that chipped in 37 points.

Alperen Sengun (21 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) posted his second career triple-double to lead the Rockets. Jalen Green added 19 points — but only seven in the second half — and seven assists while Kenyon Martin Jr. paired 16 points with 13 rebounds as Houston lost for the 14th time in 15 games.

The Rockets were quick to jump on the Wizards, who appeared sluggish after playing Tuesday in Dallas.

Houston shot 61.9 percent in the first quarter courtesy of sublime ball movement that included nine assists on 13 field goals. Not only did Green and Sengun score eight points each in the first, Houston received eight points from its bench and led by as many as nine points.

Washington was at risk of a blowout loss in the second quarter, falling into a 55-36 hole when the Rockets capped a 9-0 spurt with a Sengun driving layup with 2:41 remaining in the first half.

The Wizards found a bit of energy late in the second quarter and shaved the deficit to 58-43 at the intermission. Their bench, which tallied 25 points prior to the break, kept them afloat until Kuzma got going, and it was his three-point play with 6:29 left in the third that capped a 12-4 run and pulled the Wizards to within 66-61.

Houston reclaimed its double-digit lead by the close of the frame, but Kuzma remained hot in the fourth as the Wizards finally maintained their stride.

–Field Level Media