Strong Second Half Leads Jazz To Win Over Washington

Dec 22, 2022, 9:25 PM | Updated: 9:35 pm
Utah Jazz guard Malik Beasley celebrates (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz seemed to respond to the energy of Collin Sexton as he scored 18 in a 120-112 Jazz win over Washington.

The Jazz (19-16) returned home from a three game road trip to host the Washington Wizards (12-21) on Thursday, December 22 at Vivint Arena.

Malik Beasley led the Jazz with 25 points off of the bench as Utah’s bench unit outscored the Wizards 53-31. Collin Sexton chipped in 18 in his return from injury. Rookie Walk Kessler, starting in place of Kelly Olynyk, finished with a 12 point, 14 rebound double-double.

Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen led a strong second half performance. Clarkson finished with 23 after scoring five in the first half. Markkanen had 21 points and five rebounds on 50 percent shooting as he makes a push for his first all-star nod.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 30 points. Former Ute Kyle Kuzma scored 21 and was one of five Wizards to finish in double-digits.

First Quarter

It was a slow start for both teams as they struggled from the field over the opening four minutes.

Utah started 4-for-9 while the Wizards missed five of their first eight shots. Two Lauri Markkanen threes helped the Jazz take an 11-8 lead.

Former Ute Kyle Kuzma keyed an 13-2 Wizard run to take a 21-14 lead with  3:48 left in the quarter. Kuzma had four points and an assist during the run.

RELATED: Collin Sexton On Fire In Return From Hamstring Injury

In his return from a right hamstring strain that forced him to miss seven games, Collin Sexton scored 11 first quarter points to lead the Jazz bench.

The Jazz would take a 30-27 lead at the end one one quarter.

Second Quarter

Washington scored the first five points of the quarter to take a 32-30 lead.

Malik Beasley continued the bench scoring for Utah, converting a three-point play to give the lead back to the Jazz.

Three point shooting kept the Jazz close as they shot 50 percent from deep in the half, making eight threes overall.

It was the Jazz defense, and transition defense in particular that let them down. The Wizards scored 19 fast break points in the opening half compared to just three for Utah.

RELATED: Jazz Guard Malik Beasley Completes Three-Point Play After Floater Against Wizards

Getting ahead of the defense allowed Washington to shoot 58.7 percent from the field against the porous Jazz defense.

Washington took a 66-60 lead into the half.

Third Quarter

After the Wizards grew their lead to 70-62 with 10:46 left in the third, Jordan Clarkson went on a personal 7-0 run.

Two free throws followed by a short push shot gave way to a transition three that gave Clarkson 14 points on the night.

RELATED: Lauri Markkanen Shows All-Star Potential Against Wizards

Later in the period, Markkanen and Jarred Vanderbilt hit back to back threes to give Utah an 83-79 advantage.

Washington answered with Bradley Beal and Kuzma coming back for buckets on the other end.

The back and forth contest continued as neither team could gain any significant advantage. Utah went into the fourth quarter with a 93-90 lead after Sexton closed the period with a buzzer-beating three.

The Jazz and Wizards combined for seven lead changes and four ties in the third period alone.

Fourth Quarter

Utah opened the fourth with a 5-0 run. Walker Kessler hit a layup and two possessions later Beasley forced a Washington timeout when he hit a deep three near the Jazz bench.

Beasley’s three put Utah in front 98-90, giving them their largest lead of the game.

Later in the period, eight straight points from Bradley Beal couldn’t help Washington slice into the lead as Utah answered every Beal bucket with a score on the other end.

The Jazz lead expanded to 115-100 when Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a deep three with 4:59 remaining. It was the 16th three of the night for Utah as they outscored the Wizards 22-10 in the first seven minutes of the quarter.

Both coaches decided to clear the benches with Utah in front 120-104 and just 2:46 left.

Up Next

After celebrating the holidays, the Jazz head to San Antonio for a matchup with the Spurs on Monday, December 26. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MST).

The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet, NBA League Pass, and KSL Sports Zone.

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Strong Second Half Leads Jazz To Win Over Washington