WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz spectacular start to the season hit a road bump Saturday night against the Washington Wizards.
Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and 10 rebounds, former University of Utah star Kyle Kuzma added 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and the Washington Wizards beat the Utah Jazz 121-112 on Saturday night, ending Utah’s four-game winning streak.
Corey Kispert hit all six of his field goals, four of them 3-pointers, and scored 18 points. The Wizards played their fourth consecutive game without leading scorer Bradley Beal, who had been in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Jordan Clarkson had 18 points for Utah (10-4), while Collin Sexton and Lauri Markkanen each had 17. Talen Horton-Tucker had 12 points and a season-high 10 assists in 17 minutes, while Malik Beasley had 16 points.
The Wizards (7-6) scored 16 straight points to close the first half and open the second, taking a 65-55 lead early in the third quarter. The Jazz cut the lead to 104-98 with 6:29 to play but couldn’t get any closer.
“We lost the game with our (lack of) defensive intensity,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “The team defense tonight was not there.”
Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. pointed out the Jazz struggled in the paint and in transition.
“Our two biggest strengths tonight were there two biggest weaknesses.”
Beasley was able to witness the birth of a baby since Utah’s last game on Wednesday in Atlanta. “The travel schedule in the NBA sometimes puts a lot of people in some weird situations as it relates to family,” Hardy said. “Got some great timing with that one to be able to be with his wife for that moment. We were happy that he got to go home and we’re happy that he’s back.”
Hardy credited the Wizards with allowing his team to lose its intensity on defense.
“They played great and we did not help ourselves on the defensive end with our communication, our aggressive, guarding the ball, helping our teammates.”
Porzingis agreed with Hardy.
“They probably played with more energy some other games,” Porzingis said. “Some of it us just playing the right way and having good rhythm.”
The Jazz wrap up its three-game road trip Sunday night at Philadelphia against the 76ers.