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Kristaps Porzingis, Wizards open trip at Clippers

After Kristaps Porzingis delivered an efficient performance in his debut, the Washington Wizards will take their new show on the road when they open a four-game West Coast trip Wednesday with a visit to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Porzingis, who was acquired in a Feb. 10 trade with the Dallas Mavericks, had to wait nearly a month to put on his new uniform as he recovered from a bone bruise in his right knee. The patience was rewarded.

Despite being on a minutes restriction Sunday, the big man roamed the court for a shade over 21 minutes in a 133-123 home victory over the Indiana Pacers. Porzingis delivered 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and added five rebounds.

“I just kind of played my game and guys found me in some easy situations and I knocked down some shots,” Porzingis said. “I didn’t really try to force too much, just tried to play my game. It’s been a smooth transition all the way around here.”

Kyle Kuzma, who leads the Wizards with 17.2 points per game, was ecstatic to have his new running mate in the fold. He added 23 points and eight assists.

“It was phenomenal,” Kuzma said. “Teams can’t just load up on me. Just having an extra guy out there that is a threat to defenses. He’s so versatile. He just made really, really good reads outside of just shooting and scoring.”

Next up for the Wizards is to work on some consistency. They are just 6-7 since the start of February, but that can be considered progress after a six-game losing streak.

The end of that losing streak is also when Bradley Beal went down with a season-ending wrist injury, leading to the addition of Porzingis, while Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie were dealt to the Mavericks.

Beal was on the court Jan. 25 at Washington when the Clippers pulled off a historic comeback from a 35-point first-half deficit. Los Angeles needed every last second to pull off the unlikely victory, with Luke Kennard scoring seven points in the final nine ticks of the clock.

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It was the second-largest rally for a victory in NBA history behind only a 36-point rally by the Utah Jazz in November 1996.

Beal questioned the…

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2022-03-09

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