Continuing another habit, the Jazz staged a fierce rally to pull within three at 101-98 with 1:29 remaining.
But Paul Millsap's magical touch wasn't there on the next possession, and Nick Young followed the Jazz power forward's missed open jumper with a gut blow of a 3-pointer.
Game all but over.
Gnashing of teeth — and second-guessing a poor performance — just beginning.
"You don't want to lose, regardless, especially a game that was in your hand," Jefferson said. "But it's going to wake us up the next time, because we came out and played like crap. We can't just keep putting ourself in them situations and thinking we're going to fight back every time."
Defense ultimately cost Utah, but the Jazz didn't get enough scoring support outside of double-doubles from Williams (28 points, 11 assists) and Jefferson (25 points, 10 rebounds).
The lengthy Wizards, whose starters each stand 1-3 inches taller than Utah's first five, played like they were inspired to win their traditional home game on Dr. King's holiday. Washington outshot Utah 53.5 percent to 45.0 percent, outrebounded the Jazz 44-33 and had one more assist (27-26).
Young scored a team-best 25; Blatche added a sensational line of 21 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and three steals; and Rashard Lewis chipped in 13 second-half points.
Topping that was one of No. 1 pick John Wall's best outings of his rookie season.
The speedster dished out a career-best 15 assists to go with 19 points and five rebounds, more than making up for his seven turnovers.
"He's definitely one of the best point guards of the game already," Williams said. "He played well tonight, picked us apart with his passing, scored when he needed to and hit free throws down the stretch."
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