Burks scores 27, Jazz run away from Wizards 116-69
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The Utah Jazz looked lottery bound two weeks ago after losing 8 of 10. They’ve rebounded with six straight wins, including their most lopsided victory of the season.
Alec Burks scored 27 points for his third straight game with 20 or more, and the Jazz blew out the Wizards 116-69 on Monday night.
”We played really well,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”I don’t know (about) `best,’ but it was really good. … We were crisp on the offensive end, for sure. We were also pretty disciplined defensively, which is a good mindset on both ends of the floor.
Burks is on his best string since three straight 20-point games in February 2014. He helped the Jazz put on a show during the first 24 minutes to lead 64-30 at halftime, their second-biggest output in a half this season.
Utah moved the ball crisply, leading to wide open 3-pointers, layups and dunks. It shot 56.8 percent in the first half and knocked down seven 3s. Every Jazz player that played had an assist in the half, and the team scored 34 points in the paint.
Washington set a season low for points. Otto Porter Jr. led the Wizards with 14 points.
”We’ve learned how to play together,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said, ”and how to play that style of basketball of driving and kicking and moving the ball. There’s no one guy that holds the ball all the time. It’s always moving and they don’t know how to guard that.
”Defensively, I think that’s one of the best games we’ve played since I’ve been here.”
Utah used a 33-6 run that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 31-point lead. Donovan Mitchell highlighted the stretch with a tomahawk, alley-oop dunk on a fast break off a look-away pass from Ricky Rubio.
Mitchell finished with 21 points. The rookie has scored 20-plus points in 9 of 24 games. Monday’s effort followed a 41-point outing Friday.
Gobert returned after missing the last 11 games with a bruised bone in his lower right leg. The defensive player of the year candidate wore a brace and was on a minutes restriction, but he started, played well and finished with four points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.
”They punched us and punched us again and punched us again,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. ”Surprisingly, we didn’t fight back. One of the first times since I’ve been here we didn’t play with fight.”
Washington’s 30 first-half points marked its second fewest points in a half this season. The Wizards shot 26.8 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Bradley Beal added 11 points on 4-for-15 shooting for Washington.
Wizards: Washington shot 28.8 percent from the field and 20.0 percent from 3-point range for the game. Both were season lows.
Jazz: Rodney Hood (ankle soreness) missed his fourth straight game. … Raul Neto returned from a hamstring issue.
WALL STILL OUT
All-Star John Wall missed his fifth straight game with a sore left knee, and the team is 2-3 without him. The Wizards began the day ranked No. 11 in the league with 107.8 points per game and had averaged 104.75 in the previous four without Wall.
”We’re scoring it in different ways,” Brooks said before the game. ”John is such a great attack player in pick-and-roll. We’re doing it with probably more passing and more misdirection plays.”
The NBA has had a litany of injuries to major contributors early in the season. The Jazz have handled them fairly well after dealing with significant injuries for three years running.
”It does seem like there’s been a rash, particularly, the fact that they’ve all happened at the same time,” Snyder said. ”Ours happened earlier and we continued to have guys out. It’s something teams deal with consistently, it’s just a question of degree.”
Wizards: Travels to face Portland on Tuesday night.
Jazz: Travels to play Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
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