Wizards at Their Best Against the Pacers

Washington Wizards guard Jordan Poole after an assist to Wizards forward Corey Kispert for a 3-point basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, in Washington. Stephanie Scarbough – Staff ASSOCIATED PRESS


By Wole Akinso


Washington, DC— The Washington Wizards arguably played their best game of the season with a victory over the Indiana Pacers (13-10), 137-123.  The tone was set by Wizards guard Jordan Poole scoring 18 points in the first half.  Poole finished the game with 30 points.

“I thought he was terrific.  He put stretches together but to see him get the payoff [and] us get the win, I think it’s terrific,” said Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr.

Friday’s game was one of Poole’s most offensively efficient games this season.  Poole went 12 for 18 from the field.  Poole talked about his mindset going into the Pacers’ game.

“Being aggressive, playing my game. [I] saw some shots going in early, just create offensive.”

The Wizards had a nice flow to their offense off the bat.

“I thought we came out in the first quarter and had great energy.  So that snowball effect of playing the right way and playing with the right energy.  The ball was moving and I think our guys really bought into some of the schematic things we laid out and they took hold of it,” said coach Unseld.

The players shared the ball and made shots. The team as a whole shot 56 percent from the field and had 36 total assists. Wizards star forward Kyle Kuzma finished the game with 31 points.  Kuzma described their offensive effort.

“We made shots.  It’s clear as day. Tyus [Jones] had a triple double.  So that usually means [when] somebody has a triple double usually means somebody or people are making shots.  JP had eight assists.  I think I had four or five assists.  Deni [Avdija] probably had five or six but that just shows you the ball was popping and everybody touched it and had opportunities to score.”

As Kuzma mentioned, Wizards point guard Jones finished the game with a triple-double—13 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.  The triple-double was the second triple-double of his career.  Kuzma and forward Deni Avdija both finished the game with four assists.

The Wizards ended their six-game losing streak.  Coach Unseld was happy that the team broke the losing streak playing the right way.

“We all know what we’ve kind of been through during this stretch and to see us play the way we played and get the win is terrific.  We played the right way and it’s not just because we made shots.”

The Wizards (4-20) go on a four-game road trip starting Sunday against the Phoenix Suns (13-12).  They will go into Phoenix with some positive momentum.

Wole Akinso