SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz fell to the Washington Wizards 125-121 snapping their 24-game home winning streak.
Donovan Mitchell scored 42 for the Jazz becoming only the third player in Jazz history to score at least 35 points in four straight games, but it wasn’t enough as the Jazz comeback came up short.
Bradley Beal scored 34 points after missing six of the Wizards’ last eight games with hip and back injuries while Russell Westbrook recorded his 12th triple-double in his last 15 outings to carry Washington to the win and the season sweep over the Jazz.
Jazz Comeback Falls Short To Wizards
After trailing by as many as 19 points, the Jazz cut the Wizards lead to just two points late in the fourth quarter, but ultimately, there wasn’t enough time left on the clock for the Jazz to make up the difference.
Washington built the lead thanks to the play of Beal and Westbrook with the starting lineup and dominant show of depth using seven players on the bench, all of whom scored at least three points.
Bojan Bogdanovic had one of his best outings of late, scoring 33 points to set a new season-high while connecting on 10-16 shots from the floor, but scored just five points on 1-4 shooting in the fourth quarter.
The Wizards took a 109-90 lead with 8:23 left in the game, but despite a valiant effort, the Jazz comeback fell short. Despite several opportunities to cut deeper into the Wizards’ lead, the Jazz never found themselves in a one-possession game with the ball in their hands.
Mitchell missed a layup and a three-pointer that could have brought the Jazz closer at different points in the final minutes while a Royce O’Neale flagrant foul turned into a three-point possession for Washington, ultimately proving to be enough to keep the Jazz at arm’s length.
Jazz Starters Struggle Without Conley
Without Mike Conley in the lineup, the Jazz starters struggled after the first quarter. Conley missed the game as he continues to rehab his ailing hamstring despite playing his first set of back-t0-back games last week.
The veteran is the Jazz best defender in the backcourt while Mitchell and Joe Ingles struggled to stay in front of the Wizards guards throughout the game.
Washington repeatedly beat the Jazz defenders off the dribble, getting into the paint and pulling up short of the rim for looks over Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. The Wizards shot a remarkable 15-27 on non-restricted area paint twos while outscoring the Jazz 58 to 46 in the paint.
Mitchell matched his career-high by scoring 17 points in the first quarter but proceeded to shoot 1-11 in the second and third quarters while scoring only four points leading to a visible frustration on the sideline.
“What I was upset about was not the misses,” Mitchell said. “If you guys go back and look, what I was upset about was the reads. Some of the guys were open on shots that I took and that’s what really pissed me off.”
Conley missed both games against the Wizards this season and as a result, the Wizards were able to get to their spots in the half-court through most of the game, while getting out and running from the opening tip.
Washington only outscored Utah by one in transition, but their pressure off of both made and missed baskets forced the Jazz into tough defensive assignments leading to 70 first-half points.
Ingles scored 18 points on 6-16 shooting but the guard looked sluggish in the fourth quarter managing just three points on 1-3 shooting with one turnover in place of Conley.
Jazz Bench Struggles Without Clarkson
Just as the Jazz starters struggled to play without Conley, the Jazz bench was equally hamstrung by Jordan Clarkson’s sprained ankle. The guard missed his third straight game since suffering the injury and his absence was a glaring issue for the team’s second unit.
While Clarkson hasn’t played his best basketball of the season over the last month, he still brings an ability to carry an offensive for long stretches of the game, even when his shot isn’t falling.
Without Clarkson, the Jazz bench had to rely more heavily on Miye Oni, while Matt Thomas and Trent Forrest played their first truly meaningful minutes in a Jazz uniform. The three players combined to score three points on just 1-4 shooting despite seeing more than 34 minutes on the floor.
In total, the Jazz reserves scored just 14 points, while the Wizards’ second unit scored 59 points, easily winning the battle of the bench to help hand Washington the win.
The Jazz have a quick turnaround as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night.