It was a fun back-and-forth game with a large number of lead changes. For the Wizards, it was a tale of two halves, with Kyle Kuzma having a big first half and then Bradley Beal scoring in the second half.
Speaking of Kuzma, he ended the game with 21 points and 5 rebounds. He showed his versatility on the offensive end with his ability to score in myriad ways. Kuzma has the physical tools to be an impact player on offense, and he’s showing that this season.
Bradley Beal also brought his a-game. He scored 30 points and was the go-to guy at the end of the game. Beal is such a dynamic weapon who can close out games with his quickness and scoring. The issue for the Wizards was their inability to slow down the Jazz offense, which was running at a high level.
That Jazz offense got a huge boost from Collin Sexton, who returned from injury. Sexton brings an incredible level of intensity, and it was palpable in this game. He drove hard to the rim, creating scoring advantages all night while also playing within the offense and bringing fire on the defensive end. His energy is contagious, and there were multiple hustle plays he made that helped get the Jazz win the game.
It’s time to start getting excited about Walker Kessler. We’re now 35 games into the season, and Kessler hasn’t hit a rookie wall, he’s only getting better. Tonight he showed what the future for him looks like, and it’s a bright one. Watching him play, you can tell he has great basketball instincts. On defense, he knows when to contest and when to lay back. On offense, he’s a great screener already, has great hands and touch around the rim, and he’s good at using his size for putbacks. It’s making him a real weapon for the Jazz, who now have another high-level starter on their hands. Kelly Olynyk being out seemed like something that could give the Jazz issues, but Kessler has only gotten better with more minutes. The trade deadline is coming up, and the Jazz will have different options. There’s a wealth of depth right now for Utah, and at some point, they need to think about consolidating talent to make sure they don’t waste assets on their bench either as trade chips or on the actual court. Having Kessler on a late 1st rookie contract makes him one of the most bargain contracts in the league, it’s time to take advantage.
It’s the last game before Christmas, and I wanted to say thank you to all our awesome readers. Have a safe and happy holiday!