Red-hot Beal, Wizards look to snap Jazz streak
The Utah Jazz open a four-game road trip against the Washington Wizards on Monday night looking to improve their playoff position.
The Wizards are trying to stay in the hunt.
Washington began Sunday in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind the eighth-place Miami Heat. Utah is seventh in the Western Conference, one-half game behind the streaking San Antonio Spurs.
Utah is on a streak of its own, having won three in a row after Saturday's 114-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Salt Lake City.
Rudy Gobert (23 points, 17 rebounds) and Donovan Mitchell (24 points) led the way for the Jazz.
"When we come out ready like we did tonight and we're able to do that for four quarters, we're very hard to beat," said Gobert, who played despite battling an illness throughout the day.
Derrick Favors had 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder scored 12 points each.
The Jazz fell behind 19-11 midway through the first quarter, but they responded with a 29-4 run to take complete control and led by 17 at halftime.
Utah led by as many as 26 in the second half before coasting to the 16-point victory. Crowder hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Jazz protect their lead and the Jazz had a 65-44 edge in rebounding.
The Nets shot only 34.7 percent for the game and managed only 38 points in the paint.
"We locked down the paint," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "There was clarity when guys drove, where our bigs weren't caught in between trying to play two guys. They were able to contest shots."
The Wizards will be looking to finish a crucial five-game homestand 4-1. They bounced back from a Friday night loss to the Charlotte Hornets with a 135-128 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
Bradley Beal scored 40 points for the second straight night.
"The way he's playing, the way he's improved, the way he's led, my very biased opinion -- he's All-NBA the way he's playing," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "He's doing things that that level of player does night in and night out."
Beal shot 12 of 17 from the field and made a career-high nine 3-pointers. He added seven assists, five rebounds and two steals while committing one turnover.
"He does a tremendous job carrying our team and inspires the rest of our team, especially me, to bring that same intensity he brings night-in-and-night-out," Wizards forward Jabari Parker said. "He creates so much for himself and other people, so he's definitely a threat. We're going to ride (him) until the wheels fall off."
Parker had 20 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double, and Bobby Portis scored 18 points for Washington.
Washington converted 17 of 35 from beyond the arc in a game that featured 20 lead changes.
Beal and the Wizards have to pass three teams with 12 games left.
"We are positive," he said when asked the team's mood. "I know I am. At the end of the day I want to make the playoffs and I'm sure everybody else in here does too."
Washington is 22-13 at home while Utah is 17-17 on the road.
It's the teams' first meeting of the season. They play again in Utah on March 29.
--Field Level MediaHome