Friday night's game was exactly what the doctor ordered. Losers of five out of their last six games (and seven out of their last nine), the Utah Jazz returned to the safe confines of EnergySolutions Arena and dominated the visiting Washington Wizards, 114-100. Utah improved to 12-5 at home.
Tyrone Corbin’s squad used a torrid run over the second and third quarters to balloon the lead up to 28 points at one point. The third stanza was particularly dynamic, as Utah put up an impressive 38 points. When the final buzzer sounded, the Jazz ended up shooting 52.8 percent from the field and outrebounding Washington 45-39.
Five players on both teams finished in double figures. Last year’s Rookie of the Year runner-up, John Wall, was solid with 24 points and five assists.
The Al Jefferson Show: On this night, no one was better than Al Jefferson. Simply put, the center had one of his best games of the season. Battling against a talented, shot-blocking JaVale McGee, Jefferson was not deterred one bit by his opponent’s athleticism. Unleashing an array of low-post moves, jump hooks and smooth jumpers, the Jazz big man lit it up, going 16 of 23 from the field. Jefferson finished with 34 points, 26 coming in the first half. He also added 12 rebounds and three steals.
The future is bright: Thanks to the play of their talented young players, Utah Jazz fans continue to get glimpses of what the future could be like. And if they have anything to say about it, they will become more a part now of the team’s core.
Rookie guard Alec Burks continues to see an uptick in playing time. After four DNP-CDs, Burks’ minutes have increased each of the past four games, culminating in his 20-minute appearance Friday (while fellow swingmen C.J. Miles and Josh Howard saw just 15 and 13 minutes, respectively). He was extremely efficient, scoring 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting.
Fellow first-year man Enes Kanter did most of his damage in the first half and ended with eight points and six rebounds in 17 minutes. Derrick Favors also chipped in nine points.
After having some poor games on the recent road trip, Utah point guard Devin Harris had a solid playmaking game, tallying 12 points and a season-high nine assists. He effectively pushed the pace early on, setting the tone for the Jazz victory.
Even in the high scoring affair, the Jazz only scored 22 points in the last 17 minutes of the game.
Raja Bell scored in double digits for the fifth consecutive game. He also has nailed at least one three-pointer in 17 straight outings.
Meanwhile, this was Burks’ sixth career game scoring in double figures, including the past two games.
Josh Howard continues to struggle mightily. Since his 19-point game on Feb. 2, he has shot just 11-44 (25 percent) the past eight outings. He is averaging just 4.0 points per game during that span.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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