Utah Jazz instant analysis: Jazz blow big lead — again — but hang on to beat Wizards
The Utah Jazz definitely make things intriguing. Whether they're blowing big leads or mounting furious comebacks, the Jazz manage to frequently add some suspense to the mix. After possessing a 22-point lead Monday, Utah held on to defeat the Washington Wizards, 92-88.
Playing just their second game in nine nights, the Jazz came out on all cylinders early. A few minutes of lethargy later almost negated that once comfortable lead, however. Fortunately for the Jazz, they managed to make some heady plays down the stretch.
Six Utah players scored in double figures.
Bench ups and downs: It was a tale of two halves for the Utah reserves. In the first half, it was the bench’s energy and effort that propelled the Jazz to a nice lead. In the second half, the bench players were the victims of a hungry Washington lineup that cut things down quickly.
Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward came right in and made their presence known. Favors hit two quick shots and took care of the boards. Kanter ran the floor very well and had a perfect first half, scoring 10 points in a mere seven minutes. And Hayward was aggressive and made things happen for himself and his teammates.
At one point, that trio, along with point guard Earl Watson, were a combined 11 of 13 from the field.
In the fourth quarter, this same quartet teamed up with Alec Burks. Washington countered with the recently returned John Wall leading its attack. And attack, it did. A barrage of transition baskets, nifty penetration and smooth jumpers led to a Wizards’ surge and forced the Jazz starters back into the game.
Statistical odds and ends:
• By mid-second quarter, Utah had assisted on 11 of its first 15 field goals (73.3 percent). During the rest of the game, it tallied 13 assists on its final 23 makes (56.5 percent).
• Because both teams’ shooting was a bit erratic, there were plenty of rebounds to be had. Both Washington and Utah nabbed 51 caroms.
• Paul Millsap took a page from former teammate Andrei Kirilenko’s book, filling up the stat sheet across the board: 16 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
• Only one Washington player managed to shoot 50 percent: Martell Webster connected on 3 of 6.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. 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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