The Washington Wizards simply lacked effort during the first half of play. Following a big team win against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night, the Wizards felt as if they would be able to roll over a re-building Utah Jazz team. The Jazz were able to contain the Wizards without one of their star players Derrick Favors, who was out with an ankle injury. The Wizards rallied and overcame the Jazz in the second half to earn a 93-84 victory and improve their home record to 12-2.
The Wizards did not show up to play in the first half showing one of the worst team starts this season. The Wizards were lucky to be down only 24-22 after the first quarter as the Jazz could not convert from the Wizards turnover miscues. The Wizards showed they could knock down baskets from the field, but limited opportunities due to turnovers helped the Jazz keep a two point lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter resulted in sloppy team play for both the Wizards and the Jazz. Neither team seemed to find the basket as the Jazz outscored the Wizards just 18-15 in the second quarter. During the second quarter, the Wizards shot an unusual 27% from the field and committed five turnovers. After an unpleasant team effort, the Wizards were only down 42-37 at the half.
The Wizards got back on track and performed like the team that beat the Clippers Friday night. Great team play, offense, defense, and effort. The Wizards held the Jazz to just 18 points while scoring 30 to take advantage of the game. The Jazz played like the Wizards in the first half, committing seven turnovers and were unable to convert on offense. The Wizards ended the quarter on a 13-5 run and led 67-58 heading into the fourth quarter.
After regaining the lead, the Wizards never locked to give it back to the Jazz. The Wizards defensive intensity was too much for the Jazz as the Wizards once led by 15 with about six minutes remaining. However, the Jazz brought a slight scare after going on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to just six points. John Wall and Bradley Beal continued to make late game shots which gave the Jazz no chance of a late game come-back. The Wizards delivered a 93-84 victory at the Verizon Center.
Bradley Beal recorded his second straight game-high in points with 22 while shooting 7-19 and grabbing seven boards. John Wall had a fantastic all-around performance recording 16 points, six rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and three blocked shots. Paul Pierce ended up with 15 points and Andre Miller came up with 10 points off of the bench.
The Jazz really struggled all night, shooting just 39% from the field, 29% from behind the arc, and 68% from the free-throw line. Alec Burks led the team with 19 points and went 3-4 from behind the arc. Gordon Hayward also added 16 points and the former Wizard Trevor Booker led the bench with eight points and nine boards.
Topper’s Top Player’s: John Wall & Bradley Beal. The fabulous duo did it again by executing on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Wall keeps proving that he is one of the best and complete point guards in the league proving he can do it all. Beal showed he is not just a scoring guard, he can play lock down defense too by committing two steals tonight.
The Wizards improve their record to 17-6 and are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference. Randy Wittman’s team will look to come out of the gate strong against the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 15, 2014
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