Wizards push win streak to 5 with 88-84 victory over Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah Jazz kept John Wall in check for 24 minutes Wednesday night. That wasn't quite enough.
The Wizards' All-Star point guard went off for 19 second-half points as Washington extended its winning streak to five games with an 88-84 victory over the Jazz.
Wall finished with 24 points and added six assists and nine rebounds. Every time the Jazz pulled closed down the stretch of the fourth quarter, Wall hit a jumper. The backbreaker was a 21-footer over 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert with three minutes to play to give the Wizards a six-point lead.
''John was big,'' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. ''Made some big plays. Made some big shots. And defended. The whole gamut there. Stepped up at the end.''
Wall and Pierce carried the load in the third quarter after an ugly first half. Paul Pierce finished with 18 points, including four 3-point baskets, to help Washington end Utah's six-game winning streak.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz (30-37) with 26 points, four assists and four rebounds. Derrick Favors added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Gobert had nine points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Hayward missed a step-back 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left, trailing by two.
The Wizards (40-28) had to shoot 52.4 percent from the field to overcome 22 turnovers.
''We turned the ball over too much - sometimes, trying to force passes,'' Wall said. ''They're a good defensive team. We played better defense in the second half. We got those guys to shoot a low percentage. Other than put them on the free-throw line, we did a great job in the second half of playing team defense.
''Paul got into a rhythm making some shots and I played better in the second half.''
Washington led 42-40 at halftime after an odd back-and-forth 24 minutes. The Wizards shot 58.1 percent from the field, but 13 turnovers kept the game close.
The Jazz's numbers were basically the opposite. They shot just 38.1 percent from the field in the first half and were 1 for 11 from behind the arc, but had just three turnovers.
''They're a good defensive team,'' Hayward said. ''You give them credit, but we missed some looks that we normally knock down and you're going to have some of those nights.
''I'm proud that we still battled and still gave ourselves an opportunity. I think it's a sign that we're growing.''
Wizards: Came in averaging 105.0 points and shooting 51.2 percent from the field in the previous four games. ... Have held their last 11 opponents under 100 points. Last time they reached 11 was in 2013. ... The Wizards are 20-1 when shooting 50 percent from the field.
Jazz: Forward Trevor Booker played four seasons with the Wizards. ... Elijah Millsap passed NBA concussion protocol and played against the Wizards. He suffered the injury Monday against the Hornets. ... Rodney Hood leveled off after reaching career highs in the last three of the previous four games. He finished with eight points on 4-for-9 shooting. ... The Jazz were 12 for 24 from the free-throw line.
Wall entered having averaged 24.3 points, 9.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds in the previous three games. Rangy rookie Dante Exum kept him in check, mostly, in the first half, but he took over with 11 points in the third quarter and timely jumpers in the fourth. Jazz coach Quin Snyder was wary of exactly that before the game.
''He's an All-Star, so he's superior to a 19-year-old kid in a lot of ways,'' Snyder said. ''John Wall, he's just always putting pressure on you. It's a big challenge for Dante. Really, it's a challenge for our whole team because he's so effective in transition. No one guy's going to be able to stay in front of him. He's got to see bodies and you've got to give help.''
Wizards: at Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Jazz: at Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.