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Rui Hachimura sparks Wizards to shelling of Suns

Dec 28, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;  Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) passes as during the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rui Hachimura scored a season-high 28 points off the bench to fuel the host Washington Wizards to a 127-102 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

Hachimura made 11 of 13 shots from the floor and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line for Wizards, who have won three in a row and four of their last five games. They began the latter streak with a 113-110 victory in Phoenix on Dec. 20.

Washington’s Kristaps Porzingis collected 24 points and seven rebounds and Kyle Kuzma added 22 points and seven assists. Daniel Gafford recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks and Monte Morris added 12 points, eight assists and six boards.

The Wizards shot a robust 57.3 percent from the floor (47 of 82) to help overcome the absence of star Bradley Beal, who sat out the contest with a left hamstring injury.

Deandre Ayton had a season-high 31 points and seven rebounds, and Chris Paul added 20 points and seven assists for the Suns, who have lost four of their last five games.

Prior to the game, Phoenix confirmed that three-time All-Star Devin Booker will be sidelined at least four weeks with a left groin strain. Fellow guards Landry Shamet (Achilles) and Cameron Payne (foot) and forward Cameron Johnson (knee) also sat out on Wednesday for the Suns.

Phoenix trimmed a 19-point deficit down to one point after Mikal Bridges drained a 3-pointer with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter. Hachimura answered by converting a three-point play and adding six quick points in the fourth quarter as Washington scored 18 of the next 22 points in the game to secure a 101-86 lead.

The Suns closed the deficit to 11 points with 5:14 remaining in the fourth quarter before Porzingis sank a 3-pointer and three straight free throws to essentially seal the win.

Kuzma scored nine quick points to stake Washington to a 15-4 lead. He finished the first quarter with 13 points for the Wizards, who made 15 of their 24 shot attempts to claim a 36-21 advantage.

–Field Level Media