Unlike their previous game when the Wizards scored 124 points in a loss, they scored barely above half that against Utah Jazz in a more respectable effort but still lost 95-88 on Friday night and dropped to No. 4 in the East.
They Wizards (46-30) struggled with the presence of Rudy Gobert in the middle lo lose the season series 2-0. They failed to avenge a 102-92 loss at Verizon Center on Feb. 26.
Bradley Beal (27 points) and John Wall (16 points, five assists) led the Wizards but they needed help from all over to keep the low-scoring affair close against a top defensive team.
Bojan Bogdanovic (10 points), Kelly Oubre (10 points, four rebounds, two steals) and Ian Mahinmi (six points, four rebounds) were factors off the bench. Marcin Gortat (four points, 11 rebounds) and Markieff Morris (eight points, seven rebounds) were relegated to dirty work to neutralize the advantage the Jazz had inside with their bigs.
Gobert (16 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks) led Utah (47-29) though Gordon Hayward (19 points) had a relative off night by his All-Star standards. Rodney Hood (11 points) got the Jazz out to an 8-0 lead with a pair of threes but disappeared shortly afterward.
Beal had a chance to tie the score at 88 in the final 90 seconds but Gobert showed over the screen, forced him to hesitate on his shot and allowed Joe Ingles to strip him and make it a two possession-game again.
With the Toronto Raptors winning Friday, it gives them the same record as Washington. Because the Raptors own the tiebreaker, they get the higher seeding when the playoffs begin.
Utah extended its win streak to six at home.
--When the Wizards took a 31-28 lead, it came with the second unit on the floor. But they only scored 39 first-half points. That was their same output in the first 24 minutes in their first meeting with Utah but they only trailed by three this time instead of double digits.
--After being obliterated 50-28 in rebounding, the Wizards reversed that by being more physical. It helped that Derrick Favors (knee contusion) remained out.
--Brandon Jennings remains an open-door defensively. When he entered, he allowed Shelvin Mack (15 points) into the lane without resistance on three consecutive trips. The first resulted in a wide-open three from Hayward that missed. The second allowed Jeff Withey to get in the paint to clean up the miss for a putback and the third was an and-1 for Mack as he was fouled on the layup. In all three instances, the defense had rotate to compensate for Jennings’ blown coverage. Just because Mack didn’t score doesn’t mean Jennings isn’t responsible for others scoring. He is and that’s a part of his game that has to be cleaned up. When the Jazz took a 64-61 lead entering the fourth, Mack beat Jennings for another And-1 and then missed but had Withey clean it up because Mahinmi had to slide over to stop the drive.
--Wall was hit with his 15th technical foul – one more and he’ll have to serve an automatic one-game suspension – at 5:56 of the third quarter when he went around a screen by Gobert and struck him with an open hand around the beltline. It wasn’t called a foul initially and it was a delayed review.
--Oubre changed the tone defensively when he entered, getting deflections and on the floor to get loose balls to get them easy baskets. Oubre had six points and four rebounds in his first 12 minutes.
-Dante Exum (10 points) didn’t score in the first meeting but he had the space to get off threes from the short corner and cashed in. Hayward, who had 31 points at Verizon Center, only shot 7-for-16 from three-point range. Exum, who was starting for George Hill (groin), finished 4-for-6.