Jazz Suffer Worst Loss Of Season To Wizards

Mar 18, 2021, 8:49 PM | Updated: Mar 19, 2021, 3:39 pm
Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards attacks Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Patrick ...
Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards attacks Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz suffered their worst loss of the season falling to the Washington Wizards 131-122.

After beginning the season 29-5, the Jazz have doubled their losses in their last eight games going just 3-5 since February 26.

Donovan Mitchell scored 42 points, Joe Ingles had a career-high 34, but without Mike Conley in the lineup who sat out to rehab his injured hamstring, the Jazz slow start allowed the Wizards to own the lead for the final 43 minutes of the game.

Bradley Beal scored 43 points for Washington while Russell Westbrook added a 35 point, 15 rebound, 13 assist triple-double to halt a five-game losing streak.

Wizards Hand Jazz Worst Loss Of The Season

The Jazz had the upper hand in most regards entering their matchup with the Wizards. Washington played late Wednesday night, falling to the Sacramento Kings in a game that wasn’t decided until the final second.

While the Wizards were struggling to fend off Sacramento, the Jazz had been able to rest having won in Boston Tuesday night before arriving in the Nation’s capital later that evening.

“Were not a team that can just cruise and then turn it on at playoff time,” Rudy Gobert said after the loss. “We need to understand that we’ve got to stay hungry, and staying hungry is paying attention to the little details.”

The Jazz let Westbrook score 20 points in the first 12 minutes of the game, building a double-digit lead just seven minutes into the game, and trailed by as much as 24 points in the first half before finding a rhythm and making the game competitive.

The loss is particularly troublesome after it appeared the Jazz had righted the ship against the Celtics. Instead, the team again came out flat on defense, played carelessly with the ball in their hands, and let a winnable game quickly wash away.

Despite trimming the lead to as few as seven in the fourth quarter, the Jazz were unable to repeatedly unable to slow the Wizards offense down when it felt threatened, surrounding easy looks nearly the rim, or open mid-range shots during the game’s most important possessions.

Jazz Worst Performers

Overall the Jazz defense deserved the majority of the blame in the team’s loss, allowing the Wizards to score 131 points, tied for the highest total any team has scored against them all season.

“They play fast, that’s what Russ has done his whole career,” Ingles aid. “But they play fast off makes and misses, they push the ball and we were jogging back. I think that was a massive part of them getting on the rim early.”

The Jazz allowed Washington to connect on 40-69 shots inside the three-point line for a total of 58 percent.

Even on non-paint two-point shots, the Wizards completed a remarkable 50 percent of their 26 attempts, and 57 percent of their 26 attempts inside the paint, but outside of the restricted area.

While those are shots the Jazz generally want their opponent to take, the team struggled to contest the looks which allowed the Wizards to shoot such a high percentage.

“Bradley Beal is one of the best mid-range shooters in the league, Russell Westbrook has a mid-range game,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought with Westbrook, it was too easy for him to get deep, particularly on a lot of the back downs and the post-ups.”

Though the Wizards shot an unusually high percentage from the mid-range, the Jazz did little to deter their opponent from getting easy looks at the rim or above the break from the three-point line.

Washington connected on 12-17 shots at the rim and 7-12 threes above the break, leaving the Jazz with a defensive rating of 120, 12 points worse than their season average.

Individually Bad Performances

While the team’s defense was collectively bad, there were more than a few bad individual performances as well.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s struggles continued as the forward shot just 2-12 from the floor, including 0-6 on threes on mostly very good looks. Bogdanovic was aggressive attacking the rim but earned only two free-throws on the night to finish with six points.

Gobert’s poor free-throw shooting season continued as he connected on just 2-10 shots from the foul line. Every time Gobert got an open lane to the rim the Wizards intentionally fouled him and it paid off at every turn. The Jazz center scored just 10 points on 13 possessions that ended with a field goal attempt or at the free-throw line, easily one of his least efficient outings of the season.

The Jazz bench certainly had its worst performance of the year, combining to score 19 points on 7-24 shooting. Jordan Clarkson was the worst offender connecting on just 2-11 shots from the floor and1-8 from three, though Georges Niang’s 1-7 from the field and 1-4 from three weren’t far behind.

The team now travels to Tampa where it will face the Florida-based Toronto Raptors tomorrow night in hopes again of finding their winning ways.

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