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Wizards cruise past Pacers in season opener win

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After an up and down preseason, the Washington Wizards started the regular season off strong with a 114-107 victory over the Indiana Pacers. The Wizards led Indiana for the entirety of the game earning a wire-to-wire win in a season-opening game for the first time in franchise history.

The Wizards ‘Big 3’ of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma appeared on the court together for the first time and they delivered with a combined 60 points.

Beal netted a team-high 23 points on 9-of-17 from the field, also recording six assists and five rebounds. Kuzma scored 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-10 effort from beyond the arc, adding 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks for a season-opening double-double. Porzingis tallied 15 points (5-14 FG), 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocks on the night for a double-double.

Although the Pacers were missing a key piece in Myles Turner, the Wizards were the better team throughout the matchup. Besides a few runs by the Pacers that cut into the Wizards lead, they never allowed the Pacers to obtain an edge.

A surprise contributor off the bench was newly acquired Wizard Will Barton. The spark he provided off the bench appears to be the leadership Washington needs from its second unit to be successful this season.

As one of the team’s offseason additions, it wasn’t clear exactly how Barton would fit into this group but his ability to create shots and attack the basket made him an instant hit. Most notably, Barton finished the second quarter with a step-back three to beat the buzzer and give the Wizards a 36-25 lead at halftime.

Barton’s versatility balanced out the Wizards scoring effort, especially down the stretch when he stepped in to help the closing lineup seal the victory. He finished with 17 points and 3 assists in 25 minutes off the bench.

The Wizards have now won season opening games in back-to-back years for the first time since doing so in three consecutive seasons from 2003-2005. They also snapped a two-game losing streak on the road against Indiana, earning their first win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse since May 2021.

The Wizards will face the Bulls in their season-opener on Friday at Capital One Arena.