I just got lucky. I have a tendency to gap screens when I’m not supposed to. I’m supposed to chase it. If (Beal) were to make that, it would have been in my head, but I’m glad he did not take the shot. —Donovan Mitchell
WASHINGTON — After not making the big play offensively three nights earlier when his last-second shot to win the game at Miami bounced off the rim, Donovan Mitchell came up with a big defensive play Wednesday night to help the Jazz beat Washington.
Even if it was nearly a goof-up of major proportions.
After Utah had taken a 107-104 lead with 7.6 seconds left on a Joe Johnson free throw, the Wizards called timeout and had a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer.
They got the ball to their leading scorer Bradley Beal, who scored 21 points Wednesday at the top of the 3-point circle. Just as Beal was ready to let the ball fly, Mitchell came flying in from his right side, his long right arm extended.
Seeing his shot would get blocked, Beal opted not to shoot and dropped the ball. However, he couldn’t pick it up because it would be traveling. By the time anyone got to the loose ball, the final horn sounded, giving Utah the victory.
When asked about the final play, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “We actually had a breakdown, because we would have liked to have stayed attached to (Beal). But we did a good job of recovering."
When Mitchell was asked about it, he acknowledged his mistake.
“I just got lucky,” he said. “I have a tendency to gap screens when I’m not supposed to. I’m supposed to chase it. If (Beal) were to make that, it would have been in my head, but I’m glad he did not take the shot.”
Beal gave credit for Mitchell recovering to be in a position to block the shot.
“I saw Mitchell stumble, so I tried to get it up as quick as possible,” he said. “But he did a really good job of recovering. He would have blocked it. There was nobody to pass it to after that and I had already jumped. I couldn’t touch it, that would have been a travel. That is that.”
JAZZ NOTES: The victory was just the fourth road win for Utah this year against 17 losses. Their 4-17 mark is still second-worst in the NBA behind Atlanta (3-19) . . . The Jazz have swept the Wizards in consecutive seasons and have a five-game winning streak that dates back to 2015-16 . . . Rodney Hood got a technical at the end of the first half and a second one late in the third quarter for another technical and will face a fine for that and probably for knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand on the way to the locker room. He wasn’t available for comment afterward . . . The Jazz conclude their nine-day road trip with a game at Charlotte Friday night. Then it’s back home for games Monday against Indiana, Friday against New York and Saturday against the Clippers with a road game at Sacramento in between on Wednesday.