The Washington Wizards lost to the Utah Jazz 107-104 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...
Revenge will have to wait: This wasn't as bad as their 47-point defeat to the Jazz on Dec. 4, but it wasn't great, either. This time the Jazz were missing Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, their two best big men and still the Wizards still couldn't take advantage.
The Wizards have now lost two straight games for the first time since Dec. 12. Before this stretch, they were rolling with four straight wins, a season-high streak.
This one will hurt more than Saturday night's loss to the Bucks. On the whiteboard in the Wizards' locker room before Wednesday's game read the phrase '47 pts' and it was in three different colors, meaning whomever wrote it went over it twice again. It was in reference to the first meeting between these teams, on Dec. 4 when the Jazz blasted the Wizards by 47 points, the second-biggest margin of defeat in Wizards/Bullets franchise history.
The Wizards were determined to issue a correction, but they could not. And in many ways, they beat themselves.
Washington dropped to 23-18 at the exact midway point of the season. Given their struggles against sub-.500 teams, it was perhaps fitting they lost to one in this game. They are still on pace for 46 wins, but they know they could have a better record if they took care of business against the lesser opponents.
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All of the turnovers: The Wizards played well in some aspects of the game, but they were sloppy with ball control and Utah took advantage. The Wizards tied a season-high with 23 turnovers in the game and allowed 27 points off of them.
The problems really started in the second quarter when they had seven turnovers after just two in the first. They had 18 by the end of the third quarter.
There were a few culprits, but none more than John Wall, who had eight to offset his otherwise impressive night of 35 points, 11 assists, six rebounds, three steals and a block. Bradley Beal had five turnovers to spoil his 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre, Jr. each had two giveaways.
Otto returned: The Wizards had Porter back in their starting lineup after he missed their last game and part of the previous one with a right hip strain and tight back. It's something Porter deals with periodically.
He didn't miss a beat while he was out, despite sitting for four days. Porter scored the Wizards' first points of the game and had nine in his first nine minutes on 4-for-5 from the field.
Porter's mobility wasn't limited at all and that was very evident on this play in particular. Porter used a quick spin move to get to the rim for two:
Porter slowed down significantly in the second half and finished with 14 points and six rebounds, but his game overall was encouraging.
Rubio, for real?: Jazz guard Ricky Rubio is one of the worst shooters in the NBA. He entered the game hitting just 39.2 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from three. But you wouldn't have known it on Wednesday, as Rubio came out hot and hit his first four shots. He hit his first two threes, as well. Early on he was the only one scoring for the Jazz and led them at halftime with 12 points.
Rubio was held back a bit in the second half, as he totaled 21 points. But his first half outburst did not reflect well on the Wizads' defense. Some of the shots were contested, but some were open looks that most NBA players can knock down. It's a fine line between letting a guy who can't shoot have space and giving him too much space, but the Wizards may have crossed it.
Meeks continues to struggle: The Wizards are giving Jodie Meeks every opportunity they can to get him going. Given his strong track record as an outside shooter, they remain confident he can shoot his way out of what has been a season-long slump. But once again he barely made an impact despite getting several open looks.
Meeks played 17 minutes, but finished with zero points on 0-for-4 shooting. He entered the game shooting just 35.6 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three.
With under a month to go until the trade deadline, his position seems to be the only one they could upgrade with a minor move. They will keep giving him chances, but at some point he needs to break through or else it wouldn't be a surprise if they targeted backup shooting guard at the deadline. Beal needs someone to take some minutes off his workload.
Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before playing a back-to-back set at home. They host the Orlando Magic on Friday night with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington.
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