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In Wizards debut, Porzingis keys 133-123 win over Pacers

Washington Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis (6) goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points in his first game for Washington, and the Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 133-123 on Sunday night.

Porzingis returned from a right knee bone bruise and played for the first time since the Wizards acquired him from Dallas in a trade last month. It was his first game overall since Jan. 29. He started and made a significant impact despite playing less than half the game.

Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points for the Wizards, who took control of the game with a 39-point third quarter. Washington pulled within two games of Brooklyn, Charlotte and Atlanta, who would occupy the last three spots in the Eastern Conference play-in round if the season ended now.

Washington went right to the 7-foot-3 Porzingis on its first offensive possession, throwing a lob his way. He couldn’t quite slam it down, but he did manage to tip the ball in. Later in the first half, Porzingis provided another highlight when he blocked Oshae Brissett near the basket, although Brissett scored over Porzingis immediately afterward.

When Indiana had the ball down three late in the fourth, Kuzma blocked a shot, and Porzingis threw down a one-handed alley-oop dunk at the other end, putting the Wizards up 124-119.

Malcolm Brogdon made two free throws for Indiana with 1:35 left, but Porzingis again dunked after an offensive rebound.

Brogdon scored 27 points for the Pacers, who have lost 11 of 14.

Indiana led 61-57 at halftime, but the Wizards shot 61% from the field in the third quarter and took a 96-87 lead into the fourth. After the Pacers started the final period with four straight points, Porzingis made a 3-pointer to push the lead back to eight.

Beyond the arc

The Wizards went 17 of 42 from 3-point range. Five Washington players made at least two.


Pacers: C Myles Turner has been out since Jan. 14 because of a stress reaction in his left foot.

Wizards: G Raul Neto left with a sprained left ankle.

Up next

Pacers: Host Cleveland on Tuesday night.

Wizards: At Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.