by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Jeffery D. Allred of Deseret News.
The Utah Jazz (18-16) takes on the Washington Wizards (13-20) for a one-day trip back home before the holidays.
Battle of the Classics
Before tip-off, the game already started off rough. Longtime Utah Jazz announcer Dan Roberts was feeling under the weather, so Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz G League affiliate) announcer Tony Parks filled in for the night. Seemed as if he was given the wrong starting lineup and announced Kelly Olynyk, who was out with an ankle injury, as a part of the starting lineup. After a little confusion, everything was back on track after a holiday message from Malik Beasley (25 points and 2 rebounds).
The first quarter started with a back-and-forth battle with different ways of production. Utah got most of their points from the perimeter shooting 5/10 (50%) while Washington stayed near the paint going 7/12 (58.3%). In his return, Collin Sexton (18 points and 1 rebound) continuously drove to the basket with a strange yet positive result. In all three of his made interior baskets, Daniel Gafford (13 points and 2 rebounds) was called for goaltending. The average NBA game has 0.25 goaltending calls per game and Sexton’s first three baskets of the game were the results of goaltending. With luck like that on Utah’s side, they finished the quarter with a lead of 30-27.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Young Bull: 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯 🎥 #TakeNote https://t.co/tdul5v5gPO” / Twitter
For the second quarter, Washington decided they were done playing games. Washington shot a remarkable 17/24 (70.8%) from the field with 14/19 (73.7%) within the perimeter. Bradley Beal (30/5/5) was the main contributor to their successful quarter scoring 14 of Washington’s 39 points. Utah tried to match Washington’s production but when they would drive, the result would be free throws. Surprisingly Utah shot 9/9 (100%) from the line when they have been averaging 77.6 percent for the season. Though Utah matched their point production from the first quarter with 30 points, Corey Kispert (12/2/2) nailed a halfcourt shot to end the half. Washington went into the half with a 66-60 lead, or that’s what they thought. After review, the refs saw that there was a clock malfunction. Once halftime was over, both teams would return to the court to play the final 0.4 seconds of the second quarter before starting the third quarter.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “in Clarkson we trust 🖤 #TakeNote https://t.co/fXUyoMG87b” / Twitter
Blooming in Salt Lake City
After the break and replay of the final 0.4 seconds of the second quarter, which resulted in a heave from the half court from Beasley, Utah kicked things into gear. Jordan Clarkson (23/7/3) found a different way to contribute on the offensive end at the free throw line. Though he only shot 2/3 (66.7%) from the field, he also went 5/5 (100%) from the free-throw line. Kyle Kuzma (21/5/2) was the one bright spot for Washington in the third quarter shooting 3/5 (60%) from the field. Utah’s resilience against Washington in the third quarter paid off with their highest-scoring quarter of the game with 33 points. Their tenacious offense and a buzzer-beating three by Sexton, put Utah back in front 93-90 going into the final quarter behind the battle of Beal and Beasley.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Beas with the swipe and the bucket 🐝 #TakeNote https://t.co/LXHbpXHDao” / Twitter
With the three from Sexton to end the third quarter, Utah’s momentum followed into the fourth quarter. Utah started the quarter off on an 8-0 run before Beal was able to score for Washington. Beal put Washington on his back scoring Washington’s first 12 points for the quarter. Before Beal was subbed out, Utah outscored Washington 23-14 before Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. waved the white flag. After the substitutions from both teams, Washington went on an 8-0 run to finish the game but still fell short as Utah comes out with the win 120-112.
Utah will get a little bit of a break for the holidays before going on the road to take on the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.