In the first game after the All-Star break Gordon Hayward and the Utah Jazz couldn’t keep pace with the Washington Wizards on the road.
Hayward led the way in scoring with 19 points, but the Jazz got off to a sluggish start and fell to the Wiz by a final score of 103-89.
G-Time added five boards, an assist, two steals and a block in 33 minutes of action while shooting 7-of-15 from the floor in the losing effort. Overall the Jazz as a unit couldn’t get much going all night and according to Gordon, the team failed to execute in many facets of the game.
“This isn’t a good start for us after the All-Star break,” Gordon said. “We didn’t execute what we wanted to do. We had too many turnovers, and they had too many fast-break points. That’s who they are. They push the ball and we kind of just played right into their hands. It was poor execution.”
Utah scored the first two baskets and from that point the game didn’t swing in Hayward and Co.’s favor. The Wizards led by as many as 19 points in the contest, but G-Time tried to provide a spark before halftime to get the game in reach. After falling behind 46-37 on two John Wall free throws with 3:03 to go in the first half, Gordon responded with his only three of the game to cut the lead to six with 1:52 remaining in the half.
However, fueled by its star point guard, Wall and the Wizards went on 12-2 run to start the second half. The run propelled them to a 61-44 edge which essentially put the game out of reach for the Jazz.
Rodney Hood chipped in with 18 points in the contest to go along with three rebounds, five assists and two steals in 34 minutes while knocking down 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc. Rudy Gobert was a bright spot for the Jazz as well, as the big-man recorded the team’s only double-double. He put up 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 30 minutes of action.
One facet of the game that really hurt the Jazz was a season-high 23 turnovers, which were converted into 27 Wizards points. After the game, Gordon admitted that having the All-Star layoff then jumping right back into action with a rescheduled game from earlier in the season contributed to the squad’s sloppy play, but he maintained that they will come back strong tomorrow when they square off against the Boston Celtics.
“That’s what happens when you have a snow day,” Hayward said. “It’s unfortunate for us but we’re professionals and we’ll get back tomorrow with another tough test tomorrow and hopefully we play better.”
Head coach Quin Snyder was frustrated with his team’s performance too. There won’t be too much time to dwell on the poor overall performance as get the team will get ready to face off against the Celtics in less than 24 hours.
“We had a very poor game,” Snyder explained. “I don’t know if it was rhythm or what, but we played very poorly. We were careless, Washington applied a lot of pressure, they were aggressive. We were forced to make plays and we didn’t make them.”
H20 and the Jazz (26-27) will look to get back to .500 when the Celtics (32-23) come to town tonight. After winning seven-straight games, Hayward and Co. have dropped their last two in a row, so a win against a talented team like the C’s could be what the team needs to get back on track.
The feat won’t be an easy one as Boston was playing its best basketball of the season entering the All-Star break. They are in the midst of a 10-2 stretch with recent quality wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers. The hot stretch helped them move up to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Friday’s game is slated to tip off at 8:30 p.m. MST from Vivint Smart Home Arena and will be aired on ROOT. The contest will also be nationally televised on ESPN.