Utah Jazz instant analysis: Utah's young core leads Jazz to victory over the Wizards
Based solely on scheduling, Saturday’s outing between the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards appeared to be a mismatch. The Jazz had been off since Tuesday, while the Wizards traveled to Salt Lake City and played the second half of a back-to-back. Still the outcome had to be determined on the court. In a closely fought game, the Jazz made the plays down the stretch to earn the 104-101 win.
Head coach Tyrone Corbin had his full assortment of players for the first time in several weeks as defensive anchor Derrick Favors came back after missing the previous game. For much of the home stretch, Corbin opted to go with the quintet of Utah’s five recent lottery picks in Favors, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Trey Burke. And the fivesome got it done both individually and collectively. Each scored in double-figures and was on the court in the deciding fourth quarter.
Bench disparity: While Washington’s starters were quite good (each reaching double-digits themselves), their reserves struggled. Utah’s bench took advantage of the Wizards' lack of depth, and it was a big reason the Jazz finished with the victory. Kanter bounced back from a disappointing game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Turkish big man was active the entire night and dominated Washington’s frontcourt with his full repertoire of offensive moves on display. Kanter shot 11 of 13 from the field en route to a game-high 24 points in 30 minutes.
Kanter’s fellow third-year player Burks also excelled. The athletic combo guard sliced and diced his way to a 6 of 9 shooting outing, finishing with 15 points and a +11 +/- mark. The Jazz also got solid contributions from reserves Jeremy Evans, Brandon Rush and Diante Garrett.
Conversely, the Wizards' bench connected on just 7 of 19 shots and was heavily outscored, 52-18.
Odds and ends:
• Point guard John Wall, who is a candidate for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, had a rough go Saturday. He finished with 13 points and four assists — well below his season averages. Burke rose to the challenge, burying four 3-pointers and doling out eight assists.
• Utah’s perimeter shooting was key throughout, but particularly in the third quarter when the Jazz drained five treys. All in all, Utah hit 10 of 24 from beyond the arc.
• Washington guard Bradley Beal had a career-high eight assists.
• The two teams committed a combined 20 turnovers, and there were only 32 fouls in the game.
• Former Jazz point guard Eric Maynor did not play.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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