A common assumption this season has been to never bet against the Utah Jazz when they’re on their home floor. Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards didn’t want to hear it.
Utah hadn’t lost a game at home in 2021 — until Monday, when the Wizards (20-33) went into Vivint Arena and played some of their best basketball of the season to defeat the Jazz (40-14), 125-121. The Wiz win snapped Utah’s 24-game home winning streak in the process and was Washington’s second win over the league-leading Jazz in less than a month.
Brad scored a team-high 34 points and looked unstoppable against Utah’s generally lockdown defense. Brad was especially dynamic in the first half, scoring 23 points before halftime by attacking the rim and challenging 2x Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.
Alongside BB, Russell Westbrook continued to make an impact in all phases of the game posting a 25-point, 14-assist, 14-rebound stat line, his fifth consecutive triple-double. Daniel Gafford also gave Washington a boost with a strong 15-point contribution off the bench, his best scoring night as a Wizard. After the game, Brad explained how he’s never played with a player quite like Gafford.
“I haven’t had a lob threat in my whole career,” Brad said. “So I like the fact that I can just throw the ball to the rim, and he’ll go get it.”
Despite being down nine points after the first quarter, Washington’s intensity skyrocketed in the second quarter as they outscored Utah 37-23 to go into halftime up 70-65. A beautiful reverse layup from BB after beating Gobert off-the-dribble with 27 seconds left in the half ended up being one of Brad’s finest highlights in a game full of them.
The Wizards carried that momentum into the second half, where an early 8-0 run stretched their lead up to 19 points with 8:23 left in the game. The Jazz weren’t out of it just yet though, as Donovan Mitchell carried his team on his back with 21 fourth quarter points; he finished with a game-high 42 points off 14-of-32 shooting.
With the lead down to just four points with 35 seconds left, Westbrook came through with another clutch moment to add to his season highlight reel, burying a 17-foot jumper to push the lead back to six points.
The Jazz managed to get back within two, but by then had to rely on fouling Brad with 11 seconds left and hoping he would miss. He did not. No. 3 iced the game with two free throws to give the Wizards a much-needed win against the best team in the Western Conference.
“We played really well tonight,” Brad said after the game. “We definitely had our hands full, but I loved how we accepted all the challenges and made it tough on them.”
The Wizards will finish off their road trip on Wednesday, April 14 against the Sacramento Kings. The game will air on NBC Sports Washington at 10 p.m. ET.