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Utah Jazz snap 4-game losing streak, beat Washington Wizards

Utah Jazz guards Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell (45) hug after beating Washington at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Utah Jazz guards Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell (45) hug after beating Washington at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz are back in the win column.

It took nearly three full quarters for the Jazz to gain some separation and then they had to hold on in the final minutes, but they finally broke out of their funk on Friday night at Vivint Arena, beating the Washington Wizards 129-119 to snap a four-game losing streak over the last week.

The victory wound up not being as decisive as it looked like it could be, but it was a step in the right direction for a team that suddenly had far more questions than answers coming into the contest as the regular season reaches its final stretch.

“It feels good to get a win, get back on track,” said backup center Tony Bradley, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and an assist off the bench. “It’s a different feeling than we’ve had.”

After Utah had gone up by 15 points in the fourth quarter with just over seven minutes remaining, the Wizards responded with a 12-0 run over just the next two minutes to get right back in it. But Donovan Mitchell then took over, scoring 10 of the Jazz’s next 13 points in less than two minutes (Royce O’Neale had the other three on a shot from distance) to help Utah regain control.

Mitchell wound up leading the Jazz with 30 points. In all, 12 came in the final quarter, and his run came after he had missed his previous eight shots.

“Honestly, I think the biggest thing was just like, just wanting to win,” he said. “Go out there and make plays. Just going out there and trying to be aggressive.”

The Jazz’s game-saving run came after an 8-0 spurt to end the third quarter and a strong start to the fourth. With Utah up by just a point at 82-81 inside of two minutes remaining in the third, Jordan Clarkson keyed the decisive spurt by getting his own offensive rebound off a missed shot and putting it back in for a bucket. After a Washington miss, he made another tough basket to stretch the lead to five.

Davis Bertans missed a 3-pointer on the other end of the floor and Joe Ingles drove to the basket on the ensuing possession, got fouled by Bertans and made both free-throw attempts. Doing his best Rudy Gobert impression, Royce O’Neale, who played “center” to close the quarter, blocked Wizards star Bradley Beal at the rim and Mike Conley made the final bucket of the quarter to put the Jazz up 90-81.

Clarkson scored 20 points off the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic put in 21. Beal continued his strong run since the All-Star break, finishing the night with a game-high 42 points.

Utah coach Quin Snyder was highly complimentary of his bench players in general, saying “they turned the game a couple of times.”

Snyder pointed to Joe Ingles’ distribution (six assists), Bradley’s energy (the big man also made his first career 3-pointer), Georges Niang making shots and Clarkson’s ability to make plays.

“All those guys made a real impact,” Snyder said.

Said Bradley of his objectives while on the court Friday: “Just offensively, just trying to crash the glass as hard as I can, find different spots ... just help any way I can.”

After struggling from behind the 3-point line in large measure during the losing streak, Utah found success from beyond the arc Friday, connecting on 19 of 37 shots from distance as the Wizards did a good job of containing Gobert in the paint. Mitchell and Bogdanovic led the way with four triples apiece.

As for Gobert, he finished with just nine points but was more impactful defensively than he had been during the losing streak, finishing with nine rebounds, four blocks and three steals.