The Washington Wizards were unable to get the job done against the Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon, losing by a final score of 127-116. The Wizards came into the game following a 111-104 win over the Hawks. The Jazz entered the matchup on an 8-game win streak. The Wizards fell to 13-26 on the season following the loss. The Jazz rose to a record of 27-12.
The Wizards were bolstered by the returns of their leading scorer and rebounder. Bradley Beal, averaging 27.7 points per game, returned following a five-game absence due to leg soreness. Thomas Bryant also returned after a lengthier absence of 20 games. Bryant (8.2 rebounds per game) provides an invaluable presence down low that the Wizards sorely missed during his six-week stint on the bench. Both players looked refreshed in what Coach Brooks said would be limited minutes, although Beal ended up playing 27 minutes due to the nature of the game.
Strong Start Negated
The Wizards came out firing in the first half and for a time looked like they would run away with the game. The Wizards ended the first half with 66 points on 62-percent shooting, led by 12 points from Bradley Beal. However, Washington’s offense went cold in the third quarter. Rudy Gobert asserted himself on defense and Bojan Bogdanovic caught fire on offense for the Jazz. Soon, the Wizards’ lead of as large as 15 points fell to the wayside, and the Jazz never looked back after taking control during a 38-25 third quarter.
The Wizards ended up with strong lines from Bradley Beal, Ian Mahinmi, and Davis Bertans. Beal poured in 25 points to go with 4 assists and a steal. Mahinmi chipped in 15 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Bertans added 18 points of his own. Their efforts were stopped by the duo of Gobert and Bogdanovic, who scored 21 and 31 points respectively.
The Wizards will look to rebound on Wednesday in Chicago against the 14-26 Bulls. With the team now nearing full strength, Wednesday’s matchup will be a good opportunity to pounce on another lowly Eastern Conference opponent. Meanwhile, the Jazz will look to build upon their strong performance and make it ten wins in a row on Tuesday. Next, they will head north to take on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.