For whatever reason the Washington Wizards have some kind of kryptonite that they use when playing the Utah Jazz this season that turns the Jazz defense to mush. That’s not to say that the Jazz haven’t had other poor defensive performances this season but they haven’t looked like a top 5 defensive teams at any point while playing the Wizards this year. Credit the Wizards for bringing the intensity and focus to be able to pull off the upset against a Jazz team that has lost just 3 times at home this season.
For the Wizards, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are dominant offensively. This game was no different with Westbrook posting yet another triple double and Bradley Beal scoring a team high 34 points. But the key for the Wizards in this game the play of their bench. Three guys from the bench scored in double figures tonight for the Wizards, hitting critical shots as part of a late third early fourth quarter run that saw the Wizards take control of the game. The Wizards bench ended up outscoring the Jazz 59-14 tonight. Granted the Jazz were without 6th man Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley, but that is still an impressive advantage.
The Jazz can’t really take any positives from this game other than the fact that Bojan Bogdanovic had his best game in a long time. Bogey was an efficient 10-18 from the field and 6-10 from three point land, which is a sight for sore eyes for Jazz fans. Ultimately the team will be fine if Bogey is playing well and all the guys are healthy come playoff time. But it is disappointing when a historic 24 game home win streak comes to an end, especially when the game looked to be in control after a first quarter in which Donovan Mitchell scored 17 points. Rudy Gobert had a solid game with 12 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists but looked sluggish at times during the game and admitted as much after the game when asked about fatigue, “I try not to show it..... But this season is a little more condensed, and we’re going to have to be smart.”
This Jazz team has had a grueling schedule for a while now. It’s not like they are the only team that is going through this but I can’t remember the last time they had 2 or more days off since the all star break and it doesn’t get any easier with a quick turnaround game against the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night. The Wizards will travel to face the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Let’s hope that the Jazz can find their second wind down the stretch of the season and hang on to that number one seed, it will prove massively important if the Jazz want to give themselves a shot at being the last team standing.