October 16, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 52 Recap: John Wall and company start the “second” half by dominating Jazz

WALL’S 31ST DOUBLE-DOUBLE PACES WIZARDS OVER JAZZ

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

Hours after making waves around the league by acquiring Markieff Morris, the Washington Wizards had to reset their focus on the Utah Jazz. In a makeup game that was previously snowed out nearly five weeks ago, Washington had to start the second half off right as they are currently tenth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Against a decently talented Utah team, Washington won every single quarter, a rarity. Great production from Washington’s two centers — Marcin Gortat with 22 and Nene with 16 points — complemented John Wall’s 31st double-double of the season. At the end of it all the Wizards were victorious 103-89. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 23 Review: Wizards Rebound In Win Over Jazz

BEAL SCORES 22, WIZARDS OVERCOME FIRST HALF BLUNDERS

The Washington Wizards nearly fell victim to the underdog Utah Jazz on Sunday, but used a strong third-quarter surge to please the hometown crowd in the Verizon Center, winning their 12th home game, 93-84.

It was a tale of two halves for the Wizards. After a sluggish and sloppy first 24 minutes, they woke up after halftime and cleaned things up in the second half. [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game 61 Recap: Ariza, reserves lead Wizards past Jazz

Trevor Ariza posted 26 points and five rebounds, and Bradley Beal added another 22 and five, respectively, to help the Washington Wizards to a 104-91 win over the Utah Jazz at the Verizon Center Wednesday night.

But, to add to their efforts, Wizards head coach Randy Wittman called upon what he referred to as the team’s “AARP group.” As such, by the end of the night, 37-year-old Andre Miller, 34-year-old Al Harrington and 32-year-old Drew Gooden played a combined 53 minutes, during which they posted a total 22 points and 11 assists.

“You can see it each day whether it is in practice or out here on the floor, they are getting their legs under them more and more each day,” Wittman said of Miller and Harrington. “I thought Dre [Andre Miller] came in and battled. Obviously, we know he is capable when he gets into shape to make that 18-foot jump shot that he made tonight. Al [Harrington] obviously stretches the floor for us, at that four spot that opens and creates driving lanes for John [Wall], Brad [Beal] and those guys. Dre just does his steady self. The numbers aren’t going to wow you, but he just controls that group out there.”

Fortunately for the Wizards, the reserve corps didn’t need to “wow.” Washington outscored the Jazz in all but the third quarter, and they maintained a comfortable lead for the greater portion of the night.

In fact, once Ariza hit his second of four three-pointers on the night, the Wizards were already off to a nine-point lead with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the reserves helped pad Washington’s lead.

Beal led off the quarter with a floating jump shot fed by Miller. Not two minutes later, Gooden made back-to-back baskets before Harrington laid one in to help Washington back to a 10-point lead, up 36-26 with 8:30 remaining in the half.

Gooden added two more baskets in the quarter before the momentum shifted back to Beal and Ariza. At halftime, Washington held onto a 54-44 lead.

“The usuals” dominated in the third quarter. Beal kicked things off for the Wizards with back-to-back threes and John Wall added a couple baskets to keep Washington afloat.

In the fourth quarter, however, the reserves showed they still had some fight. Miller drove for an early layup before Harrington hit a fadeaway jumper.

With 6:39 remaining, Harrington dazzled with a slam dunk that restored the Wizards’ double-digit lead and put a smile on Beal’s face.

“I started laughing a little bit,” Beal said. “[Harrington] was energized. I told him he should’ve dunked a couple in the first half and he said, ‘Alright I’ll make up for it.’ He gave us one in the second half and you just thought that it was the end of the game the way he dunked it. That’s a great momentum play for him, to actually see him be able to get up like that.”

The win marks the Wizards’ seventh in their past eight games, dating back to Feb. 19. Washington is now three games above .500 and 16-15 at home, but they will face Milwaukee and Miami on the road before returning home Mach 12.

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 40: Loss to Utah Jazz Does Not Undermine Positives From Successful Road Trip

Writers Note: This is a series that will run throughout the season where both of DSP’s Washington Wizards writers will look back at a specific game, or series of games, and breakdown what it means for the Wizards. 

The Washington Wizards ended their five game West Coast road swing with a thud, falling to the Utah Jazz 92-88 to close out the trip with a 2-3 record. 

It looked bleak for the Wizards many times through the night, including heading into the fourth quarter, down 15 points. Of course, that was better than the 22 they were behind by at one point in the first half. 

Paul Milsap was the force for Utah with 16 points and 15 rebounds for a double double. Martell Webster provided most of Washington’s scoring with 15 points and was 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc. An unsung hero in the loss for the Wizards is Emeka Okafor, who only had six points, but dominated the defensive boards with 12 rebounds under the Wizards’ basket and 17 total. 

Washington now returns to the Verizon Center on Friday to start a short three game home stretch against the Minnesota Timberwolves.  [Read more…]

Washington Wizards Game Wrap 8: Wiz Let Jazz Off the Hook, Keep Losing Streak Alive in Loss

It was more of the same for the Washington Wizards against the Utah Jazz on Saturday night, as they started the first quarter strong, but faded down the stretch and ultimately lost it all in the fourth to extend their losing streak to eight with an 83-76 loss.

With the Wizards still winless on the year entering Saturday night’s matchup against the Utah Jazz, Head Coach Randy Wittman opted to switch up the lineup. Jordan Crawford and Jan Vesely both started over Bradley Beal and Tervor Booker, who saw limited time throughout the game.

“Its about the team, not about individuals, number one,” Wittman said after the game. “I thought making a change, you’re just as a coach, you’re trying to think of different things to try to find some [semblance] of balance, we don’t have any balance right now.”

The balance Wittman was looking for did not turn up Saturday, despite the lineup change.

Like the last few games, the Wizards continued the trend of jumping out to quick leads taking an early 11-0 lead capped off by a Jordan Crawford three from the baseline followed by a pretty lay in by Jan Vesley. Utah looked a lot like the Wizards against the Charlotte Bobcats, missing easy buckets and failing to get rebounds. In true Wizards fashion though, the starters were pulled and the Jazz ended the first quarter on a 13-2 run to finish the quarter down 17-15.

The Jazz officially completed the first half comeback when Ennes Kanter hit a two from the left side to make it 20-19. Rookie Bradley Beal kept taking the ball to the basket though and allowed the Wizards to keep pace with the Jazz. Tervor Ariza, one of Washington’s “big two” acquired in the offseason, went off to close the second quarter, scoring eight down the stretch to give him 16 for the first half and the Wizards a 40-38 halftime lead.

Utah came out of the break with a fast start from Al Jefferson, who quickly gave the Jazz a three point lead with five points. Too bad for the Jazz, someone also woke up AJ Price for the Wizards, who at one point hit back-to-back threes and went on a 8-2 run by himself. The Wizards were keeping the Jazz at an arms length, but a flagrant foul from Price allowed Utah to tie the game up. Gordon Hayward hit all of his foul shots and then the Jazz knocked down a two to make it 55-55 and take back the momentum.

Holding leads would be a problem for the Wizards throughout the game.

“We grab early leads, we grabbed a 10-point lead today, then let it go. We have four six point leads then let them go,” Beal said after the game about losing multiple leads in the game. “Its just a matter of us keeping a lead, keeping a cushion and just executing down the stretch.”

The Wizards missed shots, failed to capitalize when they would drive the lane and committed offensive fouls at the start of the fourth. In the first seven minutes Washington scored only six points, four from new pickup Shaun Livingston. Meanwhile, Derrick Favors scored five on his own, including a huge two handed slam to make it 69-65 before the Jazz would keep scoring and go up 74-69 with just under six minutes to go.

Washington’s offense would utterly disappear in the fourth and it took the defense with it. The Jazz, led by Jefferson’s 21 points, cut through the Wizards defense, got open looks and took what the Wizards would give them, which was pretty much everything. The boos began flying at the Verizon Center as the Jazz began to make it clear the game was another Wizards and fans started to stream towards the exits with 46-seconds left.

“It was tough [to hear the fans boo and leave] because we should have had this game,” Crawford said after the game. “We lost the game ourselves and we are going to have to buckle down and finish games strong.”

Utah missed foul shots down the stretch, but continued to get offensive rebounds. The Wizards, despite being down by a large margin, continued to foul with 11 seconds to go, but the Jazz missed one of the last two free throws and hung on to win 83-76. Washington dropped to 0-8 and are now the last team in the NBA to win a game this season.

Wizards defense no match for Jefferson, Jazz

Leading early, competitive for a half, dominated after intermission. This losing wash, rinse and repeat cycle returned to the Washington Wizards rotation with a vengeance. Overpowered by the Utah Jazz in the third quarter and Al Jefferson throughout, the Wizards dropped their second straight game, falling 114-100 in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

Playing the fourth game of a five-game road swing, the Wizards defense ranged from ineffective to absentee through three quarters, allowing the Jazz to shoot over 50 percent in each. Jefferson scored 26 of his 34 points in the first half and from all angles, shooting the Jazz to a 62-50 halftime lead.

That was the good half.

Perhaps tired legs are to blame, but the Wizards (7-24) defense remained incapable of slowing the Jazz attack while the offense went from productive to disjointed early in the third quarter. After opening the second half with 10-4 run, the Jazz (15-14) officially ended any drama by expanding the lead to 92-64 on a Jefferson jumper with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter.

Washington allowed the Utah to score a whopping 70 points in the paint and shoot 52.8 percent from the field. Jefferson added 12 rebounds while pacing five double figure scorers as the Jazz snapped a two-game losing streak.

John Wall scored 24 points and Jordan Crawford tallied 21 points for the Wizards, who also had five players reach double figures.

Before turning he focus toward the Wizards road swing finale against the Phoenix Suns on Monday, more on their 15th loss this season by 10 or more points this season…

Positives: Mixing in perimeter shots with assertive drives, Wall sank 8-of-12 field goals. He also made all eight of his free throw attempts and the Wizards finished 22-of-26 from the foul line…Jumping Jan Vesely’s instincts and athleticism continue to shine through, especially on the boards. Vesely (10 points) snatched the Wizards first three offensive rebounds and showed legitimate craftiness on multiple putbacks. He also tossed a clever pass on the move to Seraphin for a dunk.

Negatives: The Red Sea defense was on display early on, frequently parting the lane as the Jazz scored their first 14 points in the paint…Nick Young (10 points)  missed two shots and committed a turnover in the opening minutes of the third quarter when the offensive flow disntegrated…starting forwards Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton proved no match for Jefferson and Paul Millsap (14 points, 12 rebounds) on either end, finishing with a combined nine points and seven rebounds in 43 minutes.

There are bigs, and then there are bigs: Both teams sport youthful frontcourt, but the difference in terms of power and shot making ability – and likely upside – is significant.

Only Kevin Seraphin could physically matchup up with the 6-10, 289 pound Jefferson, but we are talking physique, not skill. Jefferson scored on the low block, from the high post, on 18-foot jump shots and while crashing the glass, making 15 of his first 19 shots. Unstoppable.

Paul Millsap scored eight of his 14 points in the decisive third quarter and six of his 12 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Rookie Enes Kanter repeatedly muscled his way to the free throw line in the first half and combined with athletic power forward Derrick Favors for 17 points off the bench.

Granted Andray Blatche remains sidelined, Vesely’s potential is evident and JaVale McGee (15 points, six rebounds, three blocks) offers extreme agility. However, the Jazz’ four interior options either immediately become the Wizards top scoring threat or provide a true power building block. There is no rumored deal, just observing.

Mack v. Hayward: The former Butler Bulldogs met for the first time in the NBA. The Wizards rookie missed five of six shots and scored three points. Hayward, who narrowly missed the game-winning shot from half court in the 2010 National Title game against Duke, finished with five points.

Vesely v. Kanter: This matchup provided an opportunity to revisit the 2011 NBA Draft. Back in June of last yeare, many hoped the Turkish center would be available for the Wizards with the sixth overall pick, but the Jazz snatched up Kanter with the third overall pick.

Both players displayed their unique gifts on Friday – Kanter strength compared to Vesely’s athleticism – and look to be legitimate prospects with the Turkish big man currently outpacing his Czech counterpart. With both playing around 15 minutes per game, Kanter is averaging 5.1 points and a robust 5.2 rebounds compared to 2. 8 points and 3.1 rebounds for Vesely.

Sigh: Down 20 points, Crawford threw an underhanded lob to Wall for a fast break dunk. Guess the memory of the brouhaha following JaVale McGee backboard pass has faded.

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