Jazz 92, Wizards 88By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 23, 2013 11:40 PM EST
SALT LAKE CITY - Paul Millsap scored 16 points and hauled in 15 rebounds and the Utah Jazz finished strong after blowing a big lead to earn a 92-88 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena. Six Jazz players scored in double figures, including 15 from reserve Gordon Hayward, as Utah improved to 23-19 with its fourth straight victory. Al Jefferson added his 21st double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Jamaal Tinsley contributed 11 points, five assists and five rebounds. Washington's Martell Webster scored 15 points, including 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range, and John Wall had 14 points and eight assists off the bench. It wasn't enough to prevent the Wizards from dropping to 9-31 while falling for the fifth time in their past seven outings in Utah. The Jazz built a 22-point first-half lead and then used a late 10-2 surge to regain a comfortable advantage to squash a gutsy comeback by the Wizards, who clawed to within two points in the fourth. The Wizards had a 10-0 spurt that began late in the third quarter and outscored Utah 14-2 to begin the fourth quarter. Four consecutive free throws by Wall and Jordan Crawford helped Washington get within two points at 80-78 midway through the fourth. Hayward ended that Wizards' run with a drive, and then he hit one of two free throws followed by a Millsap putback to give the Jazz some breathing room at 85-78. Millsap all but sealed the Jazz's fifth straight home win with a jumper with 21 seconds remaining to give Utah a 90-84 lead. That Millsap make followed a rushed fading shot by Webster, which could've trimmed the Jazz's lead to two with 42.9 seconds to go. Webster made things interesting in the final moments by hitting a 3-pointer at the 13.6 mark, but Randy Foye hit two free throws to clinch a Jazz win. Foye finished with 12 points, while Enes Kanter gave the Jazz 10 points off the bench. Washington center Emeka Okafor only scored six points, but he hauled in a game-high 17 rebounds. The Wizards struggled from the field, only scoring 19 points in each of the first two quarters while shooting just 36.0 percent from the field in their fifth game of this Western road swing. Washington, which had won five of seven games before Wednesday, went 2-3 on the trip. Utah hit 44.7 percent of its shots, but won the points in the paint battle 46-38. NOTES: Wall came off the bench for the seventh game in a row following his 33-game absence due to a left patella injury. Coach Randy Wittman didn't hint when that will change, but Wall should be able to play for longer periods in the near future. The point guard is averaging 25.0 minutes this season. For now, Wittman said, "That's all in the doctors' hands in terms of minutes." ... Jefferson isn't getting his hopes up for being named as an All-Star for the first time in his eight-year career when that is announced Thursday night. "To keep me from being disappointed, I don't think about it," said Jefferson, who averages 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds. "If it happens, I'm thankful. If it don't, I'll get some rest. That's the way I look at it." ... The Jazz went from playing just one game from Jan. 15-22 to playing 11 games in 18 days from Wednesday through Feb. 9.
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