Kyle Kuzma's triple-double helps Wizards demolish Bucks for fifth straight win

Kyle Kuzma's triple-double helps Wizards demolish Bucks for fifth straight win

Updated: 29 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds ago

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

Wizards demolish Bucks for fifth straight win originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-95 on New Year's Day. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

5 in a row

The Wizards are playing their best basketball of the season so far and the Milwaukee Bucks were in no place to stop them on Sunday night, especially with their three best players missing due to injuries.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton were all out and the Wizards took advantage, blasting the Bucks by 23 points while shooting 53.2% from the field. They led by as many as 26 points.

Bradley Beal was out for the Wizards, so they weren't at full strength. Regardless, it was an unusual opportunity to capitalize on a team missing all of its stars. The Wizards made the most of it.

That marks five straight wins for the Wizards, a season-high winning streak. They have won six of their last seven games going back to Dec. 20.

The Wizards are now 17-21 on the season, the closest they have been to .500 since Dec. 9. They will stay in Milwaukee to play the Bucks again on Tuesday.

Paint domination

With Antetokounmpo out, the Bucks still had a formidable group of big men headed up by Brook Lopez, who leads the league in blocked shots and is an early candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. The Wizards, though, were still able to take advantage as Kristaps Porzingis (22 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals) and Daniel Gafford (17 points, 8-11 FG) each had big games.

The Wizards' starting lineup featuring those two as the four and the five continues to be a major plus and this game was one of the best examples yet. Gafford came out and scored the Wizards' first eight points and Porzingis then scored 11 of their next 16. It was like they took turns and got exactly what they were looking for. They helped the Wizards obliterate Milwaukee in paint points, 72-to-26.

Rui kept it rolling

The Wizards' frontcourt in general is a significant strength right now, as Rui Hachimura continues to make a large impact off the bench as their backup four. He lit up the Bucks for 26 points, including 16 in the first half. He had 13 points in the second quarter alone.

Hachimura shot 11-for-18 for the game, including 3-for-5 from three. He has averaged 21.4 points over his last five games while shooting 60% from the field. Right now it seems almost automatic that Hachimura will come off the bench to change a game for the Wizards. In this one, the starters laid a solid foundation before Hachimura helped them turn it into a blowout.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

Kuzma's versatility

Kyle Kuzma did not have his best shooting night in this one, as he hit just 5-for-16 from the field and 0-for-2 from three. He also had five turnovers, but he still found a way to impact the game in a variety of ways. Kuzma had 13 rebounds and 11 assists, to go along with 10 points for his second career triple-double.

Kuzma had five dimes in the first quarter as he helped the Wizards get their offense going. He did a nice job of slicing into the Bucks' defense and finding Gafford for easy baskets. Those two connected on two lobs in the first quarter. Kuzma may be a 20-plus point scorer, but his true value is rooted in how well-rounded he is. This game was a perfect reminder of that.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.

Update your settings here to see it.

Short rotation

With Beal and Taj Gibson out, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has gone with an eight-man rotation the last two games. Guys like Will Barton, Jordan Goodwin and Anthony Gill aren't getting bumped up to fill the void, Unseld Jr. is just sticking with those remaining in his regular group. It seems like he has found something that works and doesn't want to deviate from it.

Unseld Jr. may be able to keep this up, as the Wizards have a decent amount of off-days coming up, without a back-to-back until Jan. 24 and 25. They also secured the win quickly enough to empty the bench in the fourth quarter, with no one logging more than 33 minutes. That's a sound strategy if you can pull it off; rely on your best players while still giving them a short night in a victory.