Early afternoon game? Weekend? East Coast? That's a recipe for a Jazz loss.
The Utah Jazz had come into today as winners of their previous four games, sitting pretty at the top of the Western Conference standings. The Washington Wizards had won two in a row and, despite missing Bradley Beal, have been playing impressive basketball all year.
The first quarter was a shootout. Jordan Clarkson was doing Jordan Clarkson things, Kristaps Porzingis was aggressive, and the Jazz took an early lead. Three straight three-pointers from Jordan Goodwin brought the Wizards right back into it, and the Jazz led by two going into the second quarter.
The second period was when Washington got going, and Utah went cold. The Wizards built a lead and never let it up for the rest of the game.
Utah's starters struggled all night against Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, and the rest of the Wizards' starting unit. The struggles of the Jazz' backcourt shooting the ball was a big issue. Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson combined to shoot 2-13 from three, with many of their misses wide-open.
Will Hardy's second unit did its best to get the Jazz back into the game. Collin Sexton, Malik Beasley, and Talen Horton-Tucker all put up big games. The Jazz kept clawing back to within five or six points, but the Wizards kept answering with big shot after big shot. The Jazz continued to share the ball (33 assists) but couldn't build momentum. The big run that we've come to expect from this new Jazz team just never materialized. Washington took the win at home, 121-112.
Tonight's MVP goes to Collin Sexton, with a strong shoutout to Malik Beasley. Sexton injected some much-needed energy into the game and just attacked relentlessly. He scored 17 points on only nine shots, with four rebounds and two assists.
Notable stat lines:
- Talen Horton-Tucker: 12 points, 10 (!) assists
- Malik Beasley: 16 points (4-9 3P), six rebounds, three assists
- Lauri Markkanen: 17 points, five rebounds, two blocks
- Jordan Clarkson: 18 points
- Mike Conley: 10 assists