SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell forgot all about his streak of missed shots because he was focused on winning.
After missing eight straight shots, Mitchell scored 10 points of his 30 points in an 82-second span of the fourth quarter, and the Utah Jazz snapped a four-game losing streak with a 129-119 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday night.
“I did?” Mitchell said when told of his spate of errant shots.
“Honestly, I continued to be aggressive and not worried about what happened. I was just trying to find a way to win,” Mitchell said.
Bradley Beal maintained his torrid scoring for Washington, finishing with 42 points, 10 assists and five rebounds. Beal has scored an average of 45 points over the last four games, but the Wizards have dropped four of five. Thomas Bryant scored 16 and Rui Hachimura had 15 for Washington.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 points, Jordan Clarkson had 20 off the bench and Mike Conley 16 as the Jazz salvaged the last of their six-game homestand.
The Jazz have had trouble closing quarters strong during their skid, but Clarkson’s two baskets sparked an 11-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters. The biggest cheer came when Royce O’Neale blocked Beal on a driving layup.
“(O’Neale’s) defensive play was one of the biggest things that stands out right away. Just knowing we have each other’s back and him getting that amazing block,” Mitchell said.
O’Neale was playing centre in a small ball lineup and said he was only “channeling my inner Rudy”, referring to Gobert who had four rejections.
“That’s always a plus when you know you’re getting the ball back. Then we scored to start the fourth and that was an extra plus. That kind of momentum swing is huge for us and gave our team some life and made us all believe we are finally doing the right thing,” Conley said.
Clarkson later pushed the lead to 104-89 on a floater in the lane.
“It was the little things. Mike diving on the floor and getting a loose ball. That was a big play for us. Getting 50-50 balls. Those are things that will be big for us as we move along through the season,” Clarkson said.
But the Wizards put together one last run.
Beal, who has been averaging almost 17 fourth-quarter points since the All-Star break, made a 3-pointer to cap a 12-0 run and draw Washington within 104-101 with 5:18 remaining.
The Jazz brought double teams at times, but Beal kept making plays.
“I trust everybody in here. Everybody is getting better by the day and everybody puts the work in. I get double-teamed a lot and I’m not a selfish player. If I see a guy open, I’m going to throw it to him,” Beal said.
Mitchell, who had scored 30 in four consecutive games, missed eight shots in a row as he tried to force the action and keep pace with Beal. But Mitchell sparkled down the stretch, scoring 10 points in a span of 1:22, including a scintillating crossover, step-back 3-pointer over Beal.
Conley made a driving layup with 2:16 left to put the Jazz up 121-108. It's Utah's first win in over two weeks.
“We needed this one so bad and it showed,” Mitchell said of the Utah’s concerted effort in the fourth.
Washington led 60-58 at halftime behind Beal's 23 first-half points.
“Brad is one of the best players in the league. He’s right there, top 10 players in the league. He does it every night,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said.
“Brad’s a playmaker, he’s not just a scorer. If he wanted to score 35 every night, I’m sure he can. He wants to make the right plays, like he did that last game with the right pass and tonight he did that same,” Brooks said.
Utah trailed by eight in the first quarter, slowed by seven turnovers and plenty of missed defensive assignments.
BRADLEY FOR 3?
Utah centre Tony Bradley hasn’t made or attempted a 3-pointer since high school, but he rattled in a long-range shot to beat the shot clock.
“I took my time. It felt like I had all day. I just shot it with confidence,” said Bradley, who had nine points and seven rebounds.
His teammates urged him to shoot and then the reaction was like a game-winner.
“It felt great. It was a feeling I just can’t describe. First NBA make, first attempt. Can’t get better than that,” he said.
Wizards: Beal has scored at least 25 points in 17 straight games. … There were 10 lead changes and eight ties before the Wizards faded in the third quarter. … Washington held Utah to just five fast-break points, all in the second half.
Jazz: Mitchell got a Flagrant Foul 1 for undercutting Shabazz Napier on a 3-point attempt in the first quarter. … Former NFL star Emmitt Smith watched courtside. … Utah coach Quin Snyder challenged a foul on a 3-point shot in the third quarter, but the call was upheld.
Wizards: Visit Golden State on Sunday night.
Jazz: Visit Cleveland on Monday night.
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