Wizards Can’t Complete Comeback In Utah

Jan 23, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Washington Wizards center Nene (42) looks for a shot while defended by Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) during the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After trailing the Jazz by as much as 22, the Washington Wizards cut into the lead, and eventually went on to lose 92-88. Here are the Bullet Points:

  • Nene looked to assert himself early, but ended up forcing the issue. He was clearly frustrated with the officiating, and continued to force up shots, looking for contact. Millsap did a good job pestering Nene in the post, as he continuously looked to poke the ball away from Nene. That ultimately lead to the 5 turnovers created by Nene. Nene shot just 3 for 14 from the field. Not good.
  • A.J. Price was solid tonight, scoring 10 points on 4 for 9 shooting. Two of his four field goals came from the three point arc. He penetrated on a number of occasions, and even had a nifty reverse layup which could’ve been a foul.
  • After hitting a technical free throw, Bradley Beal looked for his shot early, but clearly struggled to get involved in the offense. He got blocked on a jump shot, which threw off his rhythm for the rest of the game. He did shoot 5 for 11, but missed four of his six free throws.
  • Emeka Okafor continued to impress in the rebounding category. He grabbed 17 rebounds tonight, but shot just 30 percent from the field. I would be nice if Okafor stops shooting that horrid 15 foot jump shot, which he has fell in love with. I feel as if Okafor didn’t take that shot very often, prior to his arrival in Washington.
  • Jamaal Tinsley, of all people, had a very solid game tonight. There was a sequence in which he put the ball between Trevor Booker’s legs, which lead to a slam dunk. He finished with 11 points and 6 assists.
  • Al Jefferson, who has a reputation of torching the Wizards, shot just 5 for 17 tonight. Okafor did a good job closing in on Jefferson, leaving no space for him to hit his patent mid range jump shot. Jefferson did hit a few crucial buckets down the stretch.
  • Enes Kanter scored 10 points in 11 minutes. I’m a fan of Kanter, but that’s unacceptable.
  • John Wall came into the game late in the first quarter, and hit two back to back jump shots. He was also frustrated with the officiating, as a number of calls didn’t go his way. After finding themselves down 22, John Wall was Washington’s only hope. He came out aggressive, and got a handful of John Wall-ish layups to fall. Not to mention, he connected with Martell Webster on a number of occasions. He scored 14 points and had 8 assists in just 27 minutes of playing time. After struggling to control the ball on Monday night, Wall only turned the ball over once in this match up.
  • Randy Wittman chose to play Wall with the rest of the backups, which consisted of Crawford, Ariza, Booker, and Seraphin. Although I would’ve liked to see a bit more of John Wall and Bradley Beal sharing the back court, Wall will find himself playing with the backups as long as he’s still coming off the bench. Some of Wittman’s rotations were strange tonight.
  • Martell Webster committed  a really boneheaded clear path foul, which killed Washington’s momentum. I’d like to think of Webster as a pretty smart basketball player, but he clearly had a brain fart on that play.
  • Gordon Hayward was impressive tonight. He scored 15 points tonight off the bench. I love the way he runs the floor. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Wizards jersey.
  • Man, has Kevin Seraphin caught the Andray Blatche disease or what? He scored 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting from the field. He’s so frustrating to watch. There was a sequence in which Seraphin caught the ball 5 feet away from the basket, and he opted to try a bank shot. Needless to say, the bank wasn’t open.
  • Here is tonight’s box score.

Well, you can’t win them all. These type of games are bound to happen on a West Coast road trip, especially for a team like Washington. I’d still call this road trip a success, as Washington wasn’t expected to win a single game.

It would’ve been nice to finish out the road trip with a victory, but the accumulation of bad shooting, and bad rotations, led to another loss. At this point in the season, there’s no such thing as moral victories. I applaud the Wizards for their valiant effort down the stretch, but it simply wasn’t enough to stop the Jazz tonight.

Washington will meet the Kevin Love-less Minnesota Timberwolves at the Verizon Center this Friday night.

Topics: Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

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