MASH Unit Jazz Overcome Wizards In Fourth Quarter

Mar 4, 2024, 10:30 PM

Utah Jazz Guard Johnny Juzang...

Utah Jazz Guard Johnny Juzang (Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The shorthanded Utah Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 127-115 extending Washington’s losing streak to 15 games.

The Jazz were led by Jordan Clarkson who scored 38 points.

Jordan Poole led the Wizards with 32 points off the bench.

MASH Unit Jazz Down Wizards

The Jazz entered Monday’s game already down both Lauri Markkanen (quad contusion) and Walker Kessler (foot sprain), and lost two more key rotation players in Keyonte George (illness) and Taylor Hendricks (toe sprain) early in the game.

As a result, the Jazz were forced to play a series of strange units featuring little-used roster players in key moments of the game.

Luka Samanic played a season-high 23 minutes scoring five points, while Johnny Juzang scored 10 points in 20 minutes, including all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.

“That’s where I have to do my best to simplify it as much as possible,” Will Hardy said of his impromptu lineups. “Ultimately, I just am hoping and expecting that they still try to play as a group.”

In the fourth quarter alone Hardy rolled out a lineup featuring Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker, Juzang, Samanic, and Omer Yurtseven for over three minutes, and the Jazz overcame a five point Wizards lead to escape with a victory.

“Johnny’s worked incredibly hard for the last year and a half and he’s really improved,” Hardy added. “I was happy for him tonight to really step in and give us 20 very productive minutes.”

Hendricks Shooting Improving Before Injury

Hendricks left the game at halftime due to a toe sprain after scoring eight points on 3-3 shooting including 2-2 from the three-point line.

While the Jazz offered no immediate update on Hendricks’ future availability, his performance was another sign of growth since re-entering the Jazz rotation after the trade deadline.

Over his first nine games, Hendricks flashed both his rebounding prowess and his defensive versatility, but his offensive game has remained a work in progress.

One example was Hendricks’ 1-6 three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 14.

“The Lakers game here at home, they just made the ball find him over and over again,” Hardy said.

The rookie followed it up with two 1-5 three-point shooting nights over the next three games as opponents let the 20-year-old shoot threes until he proved he could make them at a higher rate.

But, over his last three and a half games before leaving Monday’s contest at the midway point, Hendricks had knocked down six of his last 12 games.

“If he continues to play like he is and he continues to grow like he is, I would anticipate in the next 10 games you’ll start to see teams guard him a little differently because of how many minutes he’s playing,” Hardy concluded.

Jazz Standings Watch

With the win the Jazz moved to 1.0 games up on both the Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets in the race for a top-ten pick.

The Jazz own the 11th-worst record in the NBA at 28-34 while both the Hawks and Rocoetks sit at 26-34.

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Neither Atlanta nor Houston were in action on Monday night.

The Jazz did pick up a full game on the Brooklyn Nets who own the league’s eighth-worst record at 24-37.

The Nets now sit 3.5 games back of the Jazz in the standings with 21 games left on their schedule.

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday at 7 pm MST in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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MASH Unit Jazz Overcome Wizards In Fourth Quarter