The Washington Wizards are still above .500 after a 109-103 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.
Washington started off this game, much like many of their recent games, in an early hole. The team could not hit a three, opening up 1-of-10 from behind the arc. In the 2nd quarter, sparked by strong play off the bench by Deni Avdija and Raul Neto, the Wizards climbed back from being down by as much as 11 to take a 54-50 lead at the half. Much of their comeback came as a result of protecting the ball (only 2 turnovers) and much better shooting (4-of-8 from 3 after the 1-of-10 start).
In the 2nd half, the Wizards got a little sloppier, committing five 3rd quarter turnovers and allowed the Jazz to build some momentum. From there the game would go back and forth, but the game was eventually put on ice, out of a jump ball, when late in the 4th, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope retrieved the ball with only 4 seconds on the shot clock, and launched a game-sealing 3 pointer that put the Wizards up by 5 with 11 seconds left and helped them get the win. Washington will now head to Brooklyn for a Tuesday night matchup against a depleted Nets team.
Bradley Beal continues his great play
Beal got off to a terrific start for the 3rd straight game. Beal’s 20 first half points, 37 points for the game, was huge. He hit some big shots down the stretch and did a good job of attacking mismatches all night. If there was one criticism of his game tonight, he had a few sloppy passes in the 3rd that lead to two turnovers, which helped get the Jazz back in control of the game, but overall he had a great game.
Adjustments on Rudy Gobert work
After going 9-of-10 and scoring 20 points in last weekend’s matchup, the Wizards were much more physical with Gobert, not allowing him to have clean rolls to the rim. Tonight Gobert finished with only 11 points tonight on 4-of-4 from the field.
Not much from Kuzma or Dinwiddie
Kuzma only finished with 8 points and was 0-of-6 from behind the arc. Spencer Dinwiddie was even worse, finishing 0-of-7 from the field and had no points. Both were replaced down the stretch with Deni Avdija and Raul Neto.