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Analysis: Jazz lose 2nd straight close game, this time to Wizards

SHARE Analysis: Jazz lose 2nd straight close game, this time to Wizards
Washington Wizards guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope celebrates with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Washington Wizards guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) celebrates with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) after Caldwell-Pope hit a three-pointer late in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Salt Lake City.

Isaac Hale, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz lost a second straight game on Saturday night, falling 109-103 to the Washington Wizards at Vivint Arena.

High notes

  • After a night in which the Jazz gave the Spurs confidence by getting open looks early on, the Jazz took a play right out of that book. Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic combined for 23 of the Jazz’s first 26 points on Saturday against the Wizards. They were firing and hitting and it was a good early sign. It was also nice to see Mitchell force the Wizards to play him super tight through his hot start and then use that against Washington by throwing some really impressive passes later in the game.
  • It kind of always felt like it was going to have to be Mitchell who was going to put the team on his back to win this one and he made the effort to do that, finishing with 32 points, five assists and three rebounds. But Bradley Beal had just as flashy of a night with what seemed like an easy 37 points to lead his team to victory.
  • I think that there were quite a few Jazz players who tried to breathe some life into this game at different times, but it never really seemed to stick. Some credit needs to go to Jordan Clarkson, who was really hustling and giving some effort early in the fourth on both ends of the floor. He dived to save a ball on one side of the court and then sprinted back down to be the one who assisted a Bogdanovic corner 3. It seemed like that was going to be a turning point in the game, but things went flat once again.
    “We’ve got a lot of back-to-backs during the year. We’ve had back-to-backs where we’ve had (success), as recently as Minnesota-Philadelphia, so to whatever extent there’s fatigue — there’s fatigue involved all the time.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Low notes

  • This was the fourth game of a six-game road trip for the Wizards and their third game in four nights. That’s rough. For the Jazz it was the second game of a back-to-back set. Both teams looked tired and like they were kind of going through the motions for most of the game but the Wizards were the team that had more fight at the end.
    “We needed it. This was a must win.” —Bradley Beal
  • Kind of wish the Jazz would have been more aggressive after the Wizards fouled into the penalty in the fourth quarter. After that point, the Jazz should have aggressively attacked the rim and also, if available, attack Deni Avdija, who is prone to fouling when guarding. There were a few too many walk-up 3s during that period where I think the Jazz could have really exploited a weakness in the game.

Flat notes

  • It’s pretty hard to make a close game feel boring, but both of these teams didn’t really feel like they had anything going in rhythm and they were streaky with their play and it all just felt a little cobbled together and not in a great way.
  • When the fans turn around and start heading for the exit before the final buzzer, it sends a pretty clear message to their home team — you can’t do it, we don’t believe in you. It’s the sort of deflating message that maybe the Jazz deserved on Saturday. They waited way too long to try hard.