Wizards blow 15-point lead, fall to Jazz in Bradley Beal's return

Mike DePrisco

The Wizards were healthier than they've been in about a month and fell to the Jazz who were without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Sunday afternoon. 

Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic destroyed the Wizards defense all game and while Bradley Beal looked good early in his return from injury, he went cold late. He missed all eight of his threes. 

Here are some takeaways from the game. 

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A tale of two halves

The Wizards led by as many as 15 points in the first half. They shot 62 percent through the first two frames and looked like they had the Jazz on the ropes. 

But it wasn't over, and the Jazz stormed back with a 19-3 run in the third quarter to take a lead. Rudy Gobert locked down the paint completely and didn't let anyone finish inside. Bojan Bogdanovic shoveled buckets down the Wizards' throats and the Wizards ended up shooting 50 percent from the floor and 30 percent from three. 

Considering where they started, it shows just how difficult the Utah defense made things for the Wizards. 

It was definitely encouraging to see the Wizards fight back late and keep the game close. Most teams who give up big leads like Washington did Sunday usually fold and lose big. The Wizards aren't most teams though. They play hard and together all game no matter how many shots are falling. 

But there's a reason the Jazz came in riding an eight-game winning streak. They play hard, disciplined and have one of the best regular-season defenders in the game. When you don't bring it for a full 48 minutes against teams like that, it's very hard to win. 

Newfound depth

When you experience as many injuries as the Wizards have this year, you really start to figure out what kind of depth you have throughout the roster. 

Players like Jordan McRae, Anzejcs Pasecniks, Ish Smith, Isaac Bonga and Gary Payton II all stepped up into bigger roles and all benefited from the increased responsibility. 

So on a day like Sunday, where the Wizards get Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant back, the Wizards found themselves with more players capable of contributing than before the injury storm began. 

After going from being the thinnest team in the league due to injury, the Wizards have more depth than they probably know what to do with. This not only bodes well for the results on the floor, but players like McRae's trade value begin to go up as they prove they can succeed in a variety of roles. 

They'll still have to rediscover their identity as a new team and once Moe Wagner and Rui Hachimura get back as well

Bonga's incredible play

Isaac Bonga made such a great play during the first quarter, it deserves its own standalone takeaway.

As Bojan Bogdanovic attempted a pass to a wide-open Rudy Gobert under the basket, Bonga flew in, intercepted the pass and managed to throw it off of Gobert before he landed out of bounds. 

Bonga has gotten to the point where he makes a play almost every night that nobody else on the team can. 

There's a lot of untapped potential with Bonga. I'm not sure anyone knows exactly what he is or what he can be, but as he continues to get chances in the starting lineup, the more he's improved all aspects of the game.  

Bogdanovic revenge game

Bojan Bogdanovic stepped up in a big way for the Jazz in this one, who were missing Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley Sunday. 

The former Wizard torched the nets for 33 points on 12-23 shooting and reminded every Washington fan in attendance what could have been had they not let him walk to the Pacers in free agency. 

Between Bogdanovic and Kelly Oubre, the Wizards have had to watch two former players thrive in other cities this season while the wing position may be their weakest spot on the roster. 

Wizards fans can sleep a little easier knowing Tommy Sheppard is the general manager now. 

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Wizards blow 15-point lead, fall to Jazz in Bradley Beal's return originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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