Just one of those games.
You could tell almost from the opening minutes of this early start game Thursday night that it was just not the night. The Wizards went on a 13-0 run just minutes into the first quarter and built up a double-digit lead, and ultimately that set the tone for the rest of the game. During this run Russell Westbrook scored or assisted on 11 of the 13 points, and that about summed up his 35/15/13 beast of a game. The Jazz just had absolutely no answer for him early on and throughout this entire game.
As we’ve seen more recently, the Jazz really struggled defending opposing guards. Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal combined for 78 points tonight, and were getting whatever they wanted at pretty much any point of this game.
Yeah, you’re going to lose this game when you let the Wizards shoot like this. pic.twitter.com/xWJDnc3rXE— Ben Anderson (@BensHoops) March 19, 2021
The Jazz got down by as much as 24 points tonight, but made a few efforts cutting the lead to single digits two different times. They just couldn’t get enough stops to get back into this game, and that was the story all night long. Despite 42 points from Donovan Mitchell and FINALLY A NEW CAREER-HIGH 34 points from Joe Ingles, the Jazz didn’t have the D to keep them in it.
From pretty much all angles, this is just a really bad loss. The Wizards were on an eight-game losing streak, and had a bottom 5 record in the NBA. The Jazz drop another game on their lead for the 1 seed, and assuming the Suns take care of business tonight against the Wolves, it will be down to just 1.5 games. That’s not the type of game you want from a potential contender coming into their easiest stretch of the season.
Donovan Mitchell talked about being the number 1 seed postgame, and admitted the Jazz need to be better due to them getting every team’s best performances on a nightly basis.
Donovan Mitchell: "We're not the Jazz of the past — like we're not the 4,5,6,7,8 seed. We're No. 1 in the league, and this is what comes with it. Every night you got to be ready."— Ryan Miller (@millerjryan) March 19, 2021
If the Jazz want to stay the number 1 seed, they are definitely going to have to eliminate games like this. Lucky for them, they’ve got a couple more games against sub .500 teams coming up, and they’ll need those to help them get back on track.