WASHINGTON — The surging Washington Wizards learned how to overcome their mistakes. That’s the next step for the youthful Utah Jazz.
Guard Bradley Beal scored 22 points and fueled a second-half surge along with backcourt partner John Wall as the Washington Wizards took control in the second half for a 93-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
Wall had 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds, five steals and three blocks for the Wizards (17-6), who outscored the Jazz 30-16 in the third quarter after trailing 42-37 at halftime. Forward Paul Pierce had 15 points.
The Wizards have won eight of nine games overall and seven straight at home. The current four-game run is the longest active winning streak in the Eastern Conference. The victory improved their record to 5-1 against the Western Conference, including a decisive victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Having lost 11 of 12 games, the Jazz (6-18) are at the other end of the NBA standings.
“Unfortunately, this is how we (are) preparing sometimes for the teams that are in the bottom half of the league, and unfortunately, we just didn’t perform from the first minute,” center Marcin Gortat said.
Washington didn’t value possessions in the first half, but swung the turnover battle its way over the final two quarters. Utah committed 10 of its 17 turnovers in the second half against one of the league’s top defensive teams. The Wizards had 15 turnovers, but only three after halftime.
“One of the guys here in the locker room said let’s treat the first half like it was a shootaround, and in the second half let’s play a basketball game,” Gortat cracked.
Guard Alec Burks scored 19 points and forward Gordon Hayward had 16 for the Jazz.
“They knew they were down and picked up the intensity a little,” said Jazz forward and ex-Wizard Trevor Booker. “I think we lost a little focus. … If we can put together two halves we’ll be a heck of a team, but we’re working towards that right now.”
Utah guard Trey Burke scored 15 points. Center Enes Kanter had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Derrick Favors did not play after suffering a right ankle sprain in the first half against the Miami Heat on Friday. The power forward’s status is day-to-day, according to coach Quin Snyder.
Second-year big man Rudy Gobert replaced Favors and had seven points and nine rebounds in his first NBA start.
The Wizards held their largest lead at 85-70 with 6:03 remaining, but the Jazz chipped away and pulled within 87-81 with 2:19 remaining. Wall was credited with a basket via a goaltending call on Washington’s next possession and the Utah would get no closer.
“You don’t really get a chance to defend when you’re turning it over and they’re very good at converting those and getting down (the court) in transition, Wall in particular,” Snyder said.
Wall’s streak of games with at least 11 assists ended at seven, but he and Beal filled up the stat sheet while committing only one personal foul. Beal matched Gortat with a team-high seven rebounds.
Washington played a lackluster first half and the upstart Jazz took advantage as they opened a six-game road trip. Utah converted Washington’s 12 first-half turnovers into 21 points.
Returning to the court with energy and better ball control, Washington took the lead for good at 52-51 on Beal’s 3-pointer and led 67-58 entering the fourth.
“We came out kind of on our heels and they kind of hit us first, but I think we did a great job of bouncing back,” Beal said.
NOTES: Jazz F Trevor Booker, who spent his first four NBA seasons in Washington, had eight points and nine rebounds despite briefly leaving in the first half after turning his right ankle. Booker joined the Wizards along with G John Wall and C Kevin Seraphin after all three were selected in the first round of the 2010 draft. … PG Trey Burke’s initial basket was the first, first-quarter field goal by an opposing starting point guard in Washington’s last five home games. … The Wizards were last 11 games over .500 on Feb. 22, 2007. …The Jazz continue the road swing Tuesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Utah will not play its next home until after Christmas (Dec. 27). … Washington hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
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