SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz increases its win streak to four games, beating the Washington Wizards for the second time this month in a 128-124 nail-biter in a packed Vivint Arena. Here are the four takeaways from Friday night's game:
• The Jazz defense was atypically soft against the Wizards, giving up a lot of uncontested shots, particularly from beyond the arc. The Wizards shot 14-of-34 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and ended with 50 percent from the field. Washington's shooting and the Jazz's 22 team fouls were the biggest factors in keeping Washington in the game till the very end. Some high points of the Jazz's defense was the players' ability to transition, scoring 20 points off of 12 turnovers, and racking up seven blocks. Bradley Beal and Bobby Portis put the Wizards on their back, scoring 34 and 28 points respectively. Portis ended the game with 13 rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block.
• Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz in points despite missing the later half of the first quarter with an injury to his eye. He returned early in the second quarter and closed out the game with 35 points, five assists, five rebounds and an earth shattering block near the end of the second quarter. Jae Crowder came off the bench and more than picked up the slack in Mitchell's absence, making his presence felt on both ends of the court. He ended the game with 18 points, two assists, three rebounds and two blocks. Joe Ingles also very played well and moved the ball effectively, scoring 18 points and gaining a team-leading 10 assists.
• The Jazz ran very hot and very cold at different points in the game. The Jazz ended the first quarter with a 17-4 run, but gave up a 13-0 run to close out the third. Inconsistency is never a desirable trait in a team, especially this late in the season. While this is more than likely an anomaly, the Jazz showed some vulnerability against a sub-.500 opponent and will need to address these issues if they want to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
• The Jazz improve to 46-30 on the season and have won an impressive nine of their last ten games. With six games left in the regular season, the Jazz stand alone in fifth place in the West, 5.5 games back from first. While the Jazz are unlikely to gain any significant ground, there will probably be some turbulence in the teams ranked above them, which will influence who the Jazz face in the first round of the playoffs.
- Monday, April 1, vs. Charlotte (35-39) 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 3, at Phoenix (17-59) 8 p.m.
- Friday, April 5, vs. Sacramento (37-38) 7 p.m.