NBA News Wire

Jazz hang on against Wizards

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
We sometimes use affiliate links in our content, when clicking on those we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you. By using this website you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, the Utah Jazz were happy to get the Minnesota Timberwolves off their schedule for a while.

After Saturday night, they were glad to see the Washington Wizards leave town, too.

Especially after a wild final minute.

Center Enes Kanter scored 24 points off the bench and the Jazz rallied before holding on to beat the Wizards 104-101 at EnergySolutions Arena.

Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward scored 16 points, including two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining, to help Utah improve to 15-29. The win snapped a two-game skid for Utah, which hadn’t played since a home loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday after a road defeat in Minnesota last Saturday.

“I thought it was a good win,” Hayward said. “Obviously, not the way we wanted to close out a game, but good to get the win.”

This game wasn’t settled until Washington guard John Wall’s desperation heave from well behind the 3-point line crashed off the rim at the buzzer. The Wizards led by 13 points in the first half but were outscored in each of the final three quarters.

“We were running in mud half the game in my opinion,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “(We) walked the ball up more tonight than we have probably all season. We wouldn’t commit ourselves to our pace.”

The Jazz seemed to have control after rookie point guard Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer for a 99-93 lead with 1:23 remaining.

But Wizards forward Trevor Ariza, who scored a team-high 23 points, cut Utah’s lead to three with a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining.

“We came out lackadaisical again, second half. We stopped playing our pace,” Ariza said. “We started to let them control the game. Everything changed from there.”

Even so, Washington, which beat the Suns 101-95 in Phoenix on Friday night, had a couple of chances to force overtime in the final 28 seconds. But guard Bradley Beal, Ariza and Wall missed tying 3-point attempts and the Wizards dropped below .500 again at 21-22.

The Jazz gave the Wizards a couple of extra chances in the waning moments. First, Hayward turned the ball over with 21.5 seconds to play with a bad pass to center Derrick Favors.

But needing a 3 to force overtime, Ariza unleashed an off-balance air ball from 3-point territory with 10.7 seconds left.

After Jazz guard Alec Burks split two free throws, Wall banked in a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game with 3.6 seconds remaining.

Hayward then sank two foul shots before Wall rushed up court and threw up an unanswered prayer at the buzzer.

“It was one of those nights where no one was really clicking except Trevor,” Wall said. “I feel like Nene did really good at keeping us in the game. I feel like we had this game won. We just didn’t do a good job in stopping them and they just kept making good plays.”

Favors played after missing Tuesday’s home loss to Minnesota with a strained right hip abductor. He finished with a game-high 14 rebounds and 11 points.

“I was a little rusty out there,” Favors said. “I was able to shake the rust off, but overall I felt good out there.”

Utah took an 85-77 lead with 9:21 remaining after opening the fourth quarter with eight straight points.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Wizards, including a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double from center Marcin Gortat. Beal turned in 14 points with a career-high-tying eight assists

The Wizards, however, only got 18 points from their bench.

Utah, meanwhile, was boosted by Kanter’s production and by a 15-point night from Burks. Jazz reserves combined to score 52 points.

Wall, who averaged 23.5 points and 8.3 assists in his previous three games, had a rough start. The point guard only hit one of his first nine shots from the field before dropping three of five in the fourth quarter for 13 points.

Ariza sparked a 12-2 run with back-to-back 3-pointers as the Wizards opened a 29-18 lead in the first quarter. Washington took its biggest advantage at 43-30 on a basket by forward Martell Webster early in the second quarter.

The Jazz responded with an 11-0 spurt to tie the score at 45 later in the quarter. Burks scored six points during that span for Utah.

NOTES: The Jazz claimed PF Malcolm Thomas off waivers on Saturday, two days after the 25-year-old was released by San Antonio. Thomas, who has had short stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, will join Utah on Sunday. “He’s someone we tracked for a number of years now,” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said. “We think it’s a potential good fit for (Thomas) and us. We just want to take him through the rest of the year and see where he’s at relative to our team.” … The Wizards were 8-2 in their last 10 road games coming into Utah. … Jazz PF Derrick Favors, on not being selected to USA Basketball’s 28-man player pool, from which the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic teams will be formed: “It was just added motivation that I wasn’t selected.” … Jazz SG Gordon Hayward and Wizards SG Bradley Beal were both included in the pool, and Favors and Wall were left off after participating in last summer’s team USA minicamp in Las Vegas. … Washington’s last win in Utah, 108-101, came on Jan. 17, 2011.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

Trending Now