Skip to main content
Publish date:

Slow Start Dooms Jazz Against the Wizards

Slows starts have become a theme for the Utah Jazz.

Slows starts have become a theme for the Utah Jazz since the All-Star break. Unfortunately for Jazz fans, an exceptionally slow start against the Wizards doomed the Jazz from the start on Thursday night. The Jazz eventually showed signs of life in the second half, but it was a case of too little too late in their 122-131 loss. Even their 76-point second half wasn't enough to dig themselves out of the 18-point deficit they faced at halftime.

Before we address what went wrong for the Jazz, we need to recognize Joe Ingles. Ingles was spectacular on Thursday night - he had a career high 34 points against the Wizards. He shot 8/10 from three. Ingles was the lone bright spot for the Jazz in the first half. His hot shooting extended through the second half.

Donovan Mitchell got off to a slow start against the Wizards. He went into the locker room at halftime with nine points. Most notably, his decision making was not where it needed to be in the first half. Mitchell rebounded with a fantastic second half. He scored 33 points in the second half to bring his scoring total to 42 on the night.

Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert Against Washington Wizards

Speaking of Donovan Mitchell, his excellent effort in the third quarter cut the lead from 18 to 8, but a pair of costly Jazz turnovers and a dry spell from the field allowed the Wizards to extend their lead back to 18 by the start of the fourth quarter. 

Read More

In the fourth quarter, the Jazz cut into the lead once again bringing it down to seven. With an opportunity to make the game competitive, the Jazz were able to get stops on three consecutive possessions, but the Wizards fought for the offensive rebounds on all three possessions and extended their lead once again. Those rebounds sealed the Jazz's fate.

Jazz fans can look at this loss in one of two ways. On one hand, multiple Jazz players had off nights against the Wizards. Was it just one of those bad nights? Gobert went 2/10 from the free throw line, Clarkson scored 7 points on 2/11 from the field, Bogdanovic had 6 points on 2/12 from the field including 0/6 from three, and Niang went 1/7 in 17 minutes on the floor. 

On the other hand, the Wizards exposed some potentially long term vulnerabilities in Utah's defense. There were many times where the Jazz simply did not have the athletes to defend Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. Those two combined for 78 points against the Jazz. Apart from Royce O'Neale, do the Jazz have another perimeter defender that will be reliable come playoff time? Miye Oni is the guy in training, but he did not look ready for that role against the Wizards.

So which was it? Time will tell - the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. The Jazz will look to rebound against the Raptors tomorrow night.

Welcome to Inside the Jazz - the new Utah Jazz fan site on Sports Illustrated. Our site is currently under construction and the commenting capability is turned off. We look forward to engaging with you in the future! While we work on some exciting updates to improve your experience, you can ask us questions through one of our social media channels:

Facebook - Utah Jazz Sports Illustrated

Twitter - @Utahjazz_SI