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Wizards Tally Second Win With Brian Keefe, How Did They Do It?

The Washington Wizards (9-37) tally their second win under interim head coach Brian Keefe by defeating the San Antonio Spurs (10-37) 118-113 on Monday night to win back-to-back games for the first time since March 2nd, 2023.

Washington had six players score in double figures, including Kyle Kuzma (18 points, 11 rebounds), Daniel Gafford (16 points, 13 rebounds), Jordan Poole (13 points), Tyus Jones (15 points), Bilal Coulibaly (13 points), and Marvin Bagley III (15 points).

The two teams met back on January 20th in D.C, where the Spurs won 131-127, but Washington had other plans on Monday night. Fans saw Gafford record a career-high eight offensive rebounds and a double-double for the second straight game.

Wizards Tally Second Win With Brian Keefe, How Did They Do It?

The Wizards bench contributed heavily in this affair. Bagley and Coulibaly shot 5/6 from the field and added two threes (from Coulibaly) off the bench. Coulibaly, a rookie, played the fourth most minutes (30) on the team and is actively improving each game. Bagley continues to prove why Washington made the right move to trade for him. The former Piston played only 20 minutes, but his impact on both sides of the court benefits this rejuvenated Washington team.

Guards Landry Shamet and Corey Kispert each added two threes off the bench to help the Wizards push past the Spurs.

Gafford had a dominant performance against Gregg Popovich’s Spurs. It was perhaps one of his best outings this season, as he aggressively grabbed rebounds and was highly active defensively.

Washington trailed by 14 in the third quarter but rallied behind strong interior play by Gafford and Bagley on both ends of the floor. Washington outscored San Antonio 31-20 in the fourth quarter and ended the game on a 20-6 run.

Jones tallied a game-high nine assists as he went up against his younger brother, Tre Jones, in the victory. Jones hit two jump shots and tallied an assist to Boulibaly for a corner three-pointer in the clutch to help seal the win. Since interim head coach Brian Keefe took over (three games), Jones has averaged 13 points and 10 assists.

The Brian Keefe Effect

Keefe is officially 2-1 as interim head coach since taking over after the firing of Wes Unseld Jr. The former assistant coach has made the Wizards team look more energized and poised each game. Kuzma, who recorded his ninth double-double of the season, had nothing but positive words about Keefe.

Keefe has been a game-changer in his promotion from assistant to head coach for the Wizards. Keefe’s approach to the game is evidently rubbing off on the team as he emphasizes the “little things” (warm-ups, shoot-arounds, effort) or, as Kuzma states, “the attention to detail.”

The Last Word/Reactions

Keefe is slowly but surely improving this Wizards team game-by-game, and it shows. The main concern from this victory is the amount of turnovers the Wizards committed (18), which led to 19 points for the Spurs. Keefe will have to clean up the turnover bug as the season progresses.

Washington’s bench played well. The interior defense from Bagley and Gafford was solid, Jones played great down the stretch, and they executed on San Antonio’s mishaps (scored 22 points from 14 turnovers).

The Wizards will host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

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