It was not pretty at all, but the Utah Jazz managed to earn an 83-76 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday, thus allowing them to sport a 2-2 record on their four-game road trip.
In a game that was plagued by poor shooting and turnovers by both squads, the Jazz took advantage of an injury-depleted Wizards roster in the second half, outscoring them 45-36. Tyrone Corbin implemented some rotational changes that yielded some positive results.
Utah now returns home after being on the road for a full week.
Change in the air
The much ballyhooed frontcourt line-up of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors was given the chance to work together from the get-go. Corbin decided to start all three, while also having veteran Randy Foye line up alongside Mo Williams in the backcourt. As a result, swingmen Gordon Hayward and Marvin Williams made their debuts off the pine. It was the first change in the opening five not induced by injury.
The new frontcourt was integral in Utah easily winning the rebounding battle, as each of the three starting big men nabbed double-figure boards. Jefferson led the way with 13 rebounds, while Favors and Millsap both added 10 caroms (five offensive boards apiece). The Jazz ended up with a 60-44 rebounding edge.
Conversely, they had their struggles offensively. While Jefferson rode a strong second half to shoot 10 of 19 from the field, Millsap (2 of 13) and Favors (3 of 10) combined to go just 5 of 23 for a total of 15 points, two assists and eight personal fouls.
Hayward reacted with a strong 15-point, five-assist outing. He seemed to be more active and involved with the second unit. His spirited effort was a much-needed spark in a listless first half. Small forward DeMarre Carrol had his second solid effort, producing seven points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes.
It did not help Washington’s cause that they continue playing sans John Wall and Nene.
· Each of the Utah reserves had positive +/- marks, paced by Marvin Williams’ +22. Of the starters, only Favors was on the plus side (+ 9).
· The Jazz made just 31 of 82 field goals — a 37.8 percent clip. Sadly for basketball aesthetics, they were more efficient than their counterparts, who hit just 36.5 percent.
· As could be imagined, three-point shooting was cold, as the two teams combined to go a paltry 7 of 25.