Utah didn’t mess around as they beat the Wizards in a methodical, business-like, ‘we know we’re better than you and we’re going to out-execute you to death’ kind of way. The Jazz did nothing flashy but played rock-solid defense, had the ball swinging from side to side, and knocked down timely three-pointers.
After a slog it out first quarter where the Wizards found themselves down 31-24, they got a spark off of the bench in Jabari Parker. He was outstanding in the first half getting out in transition and slithering his way to the hole on a few occasions for 10 first-half points.
Washington trimmed Utah’s lead to 3 near the end of the half, but lost all of that momentum as the Jazz ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a double-digit lead into the half.
The Wizards finally found their footing on the offensive end in the second half. However, the defensive end continued to be a huge issue tonight as they couldn’t get timely stops when they needed them and Utah opened the game up outscoring the Wizards 34-26 in the third quarter for a 91-71 lead.
Scott Brooks waived the white flag early in the fourth quarter so guys like Troy Brown, Sam Dekker, and Jordan McRae could close out the game in garbage time.
Utah puts the clamps on Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal was named the Eastern Conference player of the week earlier in the day — but the Utah Jazz could have cared less. Utah held Beal to just five points in the first half as they made everything a struggle. Whether it was attacking the hole or curling off of screens for a jumper, Beal couldn’t get clean looks tonight evidenced as he didn’t score his first field goal of the game until the 5:28 mark in the second quarter.
Things didn’t get easier for Brad in the second half. Utah was physical with him, played excellent team defense, and forced him to take tough midrange shots. He scored just 15 points tonight on 4-of-12 shooting and Utah made him earn every single point he scored.
If the Wizards want to win these games, they’re going to have to play defense at some point
The Jazz had their moments in the first half where it looked like they might open things up but the Wizards were pesky. Washington had an answer for every Utah run early on. The issue was, they could never get a stop when they so desperately needed one.
i'm by no means an nba coach but leaving Joe Ingles and Kyle Korver wide open from 3 doesn't seem like a good defensive gameplan— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 18, 2019
Poor interior defense followed by even lazier three-point defense isn’t an ideal gameplan when trying to mount a comeback or get over the hump and take the lead. Washington couldn’t get stops when they needed them in the first half and as a result, all it took was a mini run by the Jazz in the third quarter to blow this one open.
Up Next: The Wizards (30-41) head to Chicago to take on their old friend Otto Porter and the Chicago Bulls (19-52) on Wednesday night.