Wiz Fall Right Back in Loss Column with 8-Point Loss in Salt Lake City

The Wizards fall right back into the losing column just two days after recording their first win in December this year. They recorded that win over the Phoenix Suns on the 20th and then traveled to Salt Lake City to face the Jazz, in a game in which they would fall by 8 points.

Washington got the luxury of a Beal return a few games back against the Lakers. They also had Rui Hachimura return last night in Utah. However, Porzingis has been absent from the lineup with a non-Covid illness since that game against the Lakers and Avdjia missed the game against Utah with back soreness. Washington is hoping to have their roster healthy so they can maximize their chances to start winning games because every game dropped makes it that much harder to make the playoffs, even with the Play-In.

The Wiz had a solid first half, including an explosive second quarter in which they scored a near 40 points. All of this intensity slowly faded in the second half, causing Washington to get outscored in both of the later frames against the Jazz.

You couldn’t ask for much more from Brad last night, or in the games, he has been in the lineup as of recently. Beal scored a team-high 30 points, but also amassed 5 assists and 5 rebounds. He was also one of two Wizards starters who had a positive plus/minus in the loss (Monte Morris was the other Wizards who had a positive plus/minus.

Kyle Kuzma also put together a good night on the offensive end, netting 21 points, bringing in 5 rebounds, and keeping his turnovers to a low 2 total turnovers. However, Kuzma was very inefficient defensively, accumulating a plus/minus of -21. He and Will Barton were on the court the most when Utah was scoring.

The guys who feasted for Utah were: Lauri Markkanen who had 21 points, Jordan Clarkson who had 23 points, and Malik Beasly who had a huge night off the bench with 25 points. They also had Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and the rookie Walker Kessler assist in the win.

For Walker Kessler, it was a huge night. And this was nothing new as Kessler has put together his 4 biggest games on the glass this month. Last night, Kessler hauled in 14 rebounds and put up 12 points for the Jazz, taking advantage of the undersized Gafford in the paint. Those 14 rebounds nearly beat his career high of 16 rebounds, which he recorded about a week before last night’s game.

The Jazz were also lights out from deep in the win. They shot 45% from three with Markkanen and Clarkson both shooting over 50% from this range. That mixed with poor shooting from the line on behalf of Washington, who shot 76% to the Jazz 95% from the charity stripe, led to a second-half collapse and yet another loss within 10 points.

Washington falls to 12-21 but still sits 12th, tied with the Orlando Magic. They play again tonight in Sacramento against the 17-13 Kings before returning to the District for a two-game home-stand. Tip-off for tonight’s game is at 10 pm EST.

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