On the backs of another Trevor Ariza career game and a strategic early Randy Wittman coaching strategy, the Washington Wizards defeated the Utah Jazz 104 - 91 on Wednesday night.
Wittman is the much maligned head coach of the Wizards, and with a career record of 179-320 (.359), you cannot really be shocked that he has his detractors. Despite Wittman's alleged coaching deficiencies, he put together an early strategy that ended this matchup between the Jazz and Wizards, just shortly after it got started.
The Wizards started the game with a very specific game plan of posting up Marcin Gortat (allegedly 6'11" and 240 lbs.) against the Jazz's Derrick Favors (allegedly 6'10" 268 lbs.). Coach Tyrone Corbin allowed Favors to handle Gortat mano-y-mano but unfortunately Gortat got the better of Favors early as he went 2-2 and drew a quick foul. This prompted Corbin to call an early 20 second timeout, just under 3 minutes into the game.
However, before any adjustments (if any) on defense could be seen, Favors committed a (debatable) offensive foul on a screen on the next possession and was (rightly) given the quick hook by Corbin. Since it would be an understatement to say that the Jazz struggle with Favors out of the lineup (especially on defense), you can imagine what happened next. What was a 5-6 Wizards game quickly turned into a 13-22, 9 point Wizards lead over the next 5 minutes.
Thereafter, Favors battled foul trouble for most of the rest of the game while the Wizards mostly maintained a comfortable lead. Even as the Jazz battled to get the game close, Favors foul troubles got in the way of him contesting an Al Harrington dunk with about 6 minutes remaining. With those 2 exclamation points, the Wizards' lead moved back to 10 and that was essentially ballgame.
- At 10:32 in the 2Q, Alec Burks attacked the rim and attempted to unleash a monster dunk on Drew Gooden's head. Gooden did the right thing and did not cede the easy 2 points, but you have got to love Burks' fearlessness at the rim. Burks again finished with the teams best offensive stat line, with 19 points on only 11 field goal attempts.
- Enes Kanter, now relegated to his backup role, had another solid night of offensive production. Kanter finished with 11 points and 8 boards on 50% shooting in only 23 minutes and other than a few defensive lapses, looks like he is ready to regain his starting job.
- One loss closer to more ping pong balls and the Joel Embiid era.
- Posted without editorial:
- Marv-V-P is just not the same player he was before the trade deadline. Excluding his 19 point effort in the home win against Boston on 2/24, he is averaging just 4.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in the other 7 games. Those are not the numbers of a starting power forward.
- Trevor Ariza again came to play versus the Jazz, and this time lit up Dick Jefferson for 26 points, including 4-6 from 3 point land.
Tyrone Corbin takes Hayward out three minutes into the second half after Beal hits two jumpers. Not sure that's the problem ...— Steve Luhm (@sluhm) March 6, 2014
Interesting stuff going on w/Corbin and Hayward. Neither being signed for next year adds to the dynamic.— Steve Luhm (@sluhm) March 6, 2014
Next up for Utah is a very winnable game against the struggling Knicks at MSG on Friday 3/7 at 5:30 MST.