Notebook: Jazz 92, Wizards 88



Posted Jan 24, 2013 12:56 AM

Andrew Aragon, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: For the most part, the Utah Jazz looked like a team with fresh legs. For the most part, the Washington Wizards looked like a team that lost 28 of its first 32 games.

But in another example that no lead is safe in the NBA, the Jazz had what was once a 22-point lead trimmed to two in the fourth quarter before holding on for a less-than-satisfying 92-88 victory over the Wizards on Wednesday night.

Paul Millsap had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Utah, which was playing just its second game in nine days. Gordon Hayward had 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Wizards were led by Martell Webster's 15 points and Emeka Okafor's 17 rebounds.

QUOTABLE: "We kind of let them dictate with their pressure. I would say we were tense. We let them get two or three buckets in a row. We got to be able to just calm down a little bit and not rush through stuff. I think we go a little bit too fast and we start missing shots and they were able to get good looks -- easy looks -- and we just got to be able to calm down and run our plays and run our stuff."

-- Jazz guard Hayward on what went wrong for Utah in the fourth quarter

THE STAT: Outside of a furious rally in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, the Wizards simply didn't shoot well enough to win. They shot 36 percent in the game, and dug themselves a huge hole by shooting a dismal 23.8 percent in the first quarter and 29.8 percent in the first half.

TURNING POINT: The Jazz looked like a nervous team after the Wizards got within two points in the fourth quarter, but were able to hold on by tightening up their defense. After Jordan Crawford made a layup with four minutes remaining to make it 85-80, Utah held Washington to just two baskets the rest of the way. The Jazz gained a little breathing room after Millsap slapped the ball away from Nene and quickly got the ball up court to Hayward. Trevor Ariza then committed a clear-path foul, giving Hayward two free throws and the Jazz possession. Hayward made both foul shots, putting Utah up 87-80 with 3:24 left in the game.

HOT: Jamaal Tinsley turned back the clock and dazzled the home crowd with creative passes straight off his New York playground. He had 11 points, six assists and five rebounds. Millsap was Utah's best player on Wednesday, and his jumper with 21 seconds left put Utah ahead 90-84. You can't make much more of an impact in limited minutes as Enes Kanter did for Utah. He had 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in 11 minutes. For Washington, Webster scored 13 of his points in the second half.

NOT: Washington needed Okafor's rebounds, but his offensive performance was a liability. He missed his first seven shots -- including a failed dunk from the right side that didn't touch the rim. He played less than four minutes of the fourth quarter. Nene had some great moves in the post to create his shot -- but he sank very few of them. He was 3-for-14. Al Jefferson started slowly for Utah, missing his first six shots on his way to a 5-for-17 shooting performance.

QUOTABLE II: "It was a good fight back by us, but just a bad job of coming out and being ready to play. If we had come up from the start and been ready to play, it probably would have been a much different game."

-- Wizards guard A.J. Price on his team's comeback

GOOD MOVE: Washington could have easily packed it in after it fell behind by 22 points in the first half and trailed by 15 to start the fourth quarter. The Wizards, however, quickly put 20 points on the scoreboard in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 16-2 run, to get within 80-78. Although the Wizards weren't able to pull out the victory, they ended their five-game road trip on a good note by not quitting against the Jazz.

BAD MOVE: Two plays were key in keeping Washington from getting over the hump in the fourth quarter. Ariza's clear-path foul was a momentum killer. Later in the period, with the Wizards down 88-84, Webster took an ill-advised, off-balance jumper with 42.9 seconds remaining and 14 seconds left on the shot clock. There had to have been a better shot for the Wizards to take, and Utah quickly capitalized when Millsap buried a jumper on the other end.

NOTABLE: The Wizards wrapped up a five-game road trip against Western Conference teams with a 2-3 record. They lost the three games by a total of 12 points. Washington fell to 0-25 when it is outshot by an opponent. The Jazz have won four straight and eight of their last 10. Jefferson recorded his 21st double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT: For the Wizards, Friday vs. Minnesota, Saturday vs. Chicago, Monday vs. Sacramento. For the Jazz, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Saturday vs. Indiana, Monday vs. Houston.