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Instant analysis: Wizards snap Jazz home win streak

The Washington Wizards snapped the Jazz’s 24-game home win streak on Monday with a 125-121 win at Vivint Arena.

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Washington Wizards center Robin Lopez (15) and Utah Jazz forward Royce O’Neale (23) fight for the ball during an NBA game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 12, 2021. The Jazz lost 121-125.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz lost at home for the first time since Dec. 31, 2020. The Washington Wizards snapped the Jazz’s 24-game home win streak on Monday with a 125-121 win at Vivint Arena.

High Notes

  • The NBA’s scoring leader, Bradley Beal, and previous MVP, Russell Westbrook, are pretty good at basketball and they did not hold any punches against a shorthanded Jazz squad. The two combined for 59 points and did it in about as an expected way as possible. Both ran the floor and pushed the ball on the break, and Westbrook turned in quite a few vintage mid-range shots while Beal relentlessly attacked at the rim and both did so pretty efficiently.

“Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal are great players and I thought Russ tonight was incredibly efficient. He was making the right play all the time. And, obviously Brad is a gifted score and player. We didn’t have the right focus defensively.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • Daniel Gafford probably wasn’t even on the Jazz’s scouting report and even if he was there was probably very little to say. He played just his fourth game in a Wizards uniform on Monday and he had 15 points off the bench. He was so engaged and was hitting guys on target, cleaning up misses and smoothly running with the offense that you never would have known that he’s played so little with Washington.
  • Donovan Mitchell came out of the gate on fire, scoring 17 of his 42 points in the first quarter. He went cold through most of the rest of the game but once again came alive at the end to try to give the Jazz a shot. Down 17, Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with just over seven minutes left to play and that started the Jazz’s surge in the fourth quarter to make this a competitive game.
  • That fourth quarter surge was really impressive from the Jazz, but when it was preceded with some really disappointing basketball, it’s hard not to wish that the Jazz could have maybe given a little more effort through quarters two and three.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic is never going to be expected to be a great defender but he was actually trying on some plays that I can’t say the same for some of the other Jazz players. He scored 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including going 6-of-10 from 3-point range while also grabbing five rebounds. Excellent showing from Bogey.

Low Notes

  • Out of necessity the Jazz had to turn to the seldom used players like Trent Forrest and Matt Thomas and a lot more of Miye Oni due to the absence of Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson. I know this is probably stating the obvious but Forrest, Thomas and Oni are no substitute for Conley and Clarkson.
  • Moving Joe Ingles into the starting unit with just one injury (Conley) to the Jazz’s main nine-man rotation doesn’t disrupt much, but when the bench also loses Clarkson there is complete disarray. The Jazz’s most used second unit lineup (Ingles, Clarkson and Georges Niang) usually plays with Conley and Rudy Gobert and that was completely thrown out of whack and the Jazz floundered on both end because of it. There’s less creation and resistance on the perimeter without Conley and there’s almost no creation from the bench without Conley. And while Oni is a totally capable defender, he and Forrest are no match for Beal and Westbrook.
  • The Jazz bench scored just 14 points.
  • To make matters worse, the players that the Jazz had available to them decided that defense was probably not the thing they were interested in playing really until they were down by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
  • Then, on the other side of the ball, while Mitchell started out the game very hot, as noted above, he followed his first quarter performance by going 1-of-13 until he hit a 3-pointer midway through the fourth. Likewise, Ingles was pretty good early on but had a really rough stretch through the middle of the game on offense and defense with missed defensive assignments, missed shots and turnovers.
  • Derrick Favors has had a nice stretch recently but he was just ineffective against the Wizards.

Flat Notes

  • I know that I already mentioned the Jazz’s lackluster defensive performance in the Low Notes, but it really deserves to be highlighted for all the wrong reasons. Even when the Jazz would manage to get a stop, which was rare, they would miss a shot on the other end and then just completely fail to get back. Their transition effort, against two of the quickest guards in the league, was so lacking that it’s actually pretty embarrassing. And it’s not like the Jazz don’t know that. They let the Wizards put 70 points on the board in the first half and that’s while only taking nine 3s. It’s really hard to find excuses for that and that’s because there is no excuse. The Jazz were not trying hard enough on defense and when they did start trying it was too little, too late. 

“We just didn’t have enough of a presence on the defensive end in general. And you could dissect a number of different situations but there were too many of them.” — Quin Snyder

“I mean we just played through the motions, we were not resistant defensively. They didn’t even shoot too many 3s in the first half, so we were just bad defensively. When you allow someone to score 70, or more than 70 points in the first half, it’s tough to win a game.” — Bojan Bogdanovic

  • I understand getting frustrated through a physical and tough game that has maybe some bad calls or that is really tight, but to get mad and frustrated in a game that you didn’t deserve to win at all is not really the best way to react. Gobert had more than one frustrated moment and was lucky that it only once got him charged with a technical foul. He very easily could have been ejected from the game due to his frustration, and that would have just made things even worse.
  • The Jazz made a run in the fourth quarter and if they would have won the game there would probably have been people saying that the Jazz closed the game like a team with the best record in the league and that it showed their grit. But, make no mistake, they were outplayed on Monday night and if they had somehow eeked it out, it wouldn’t have been deserved.