Instant analysis: Wizards 104, Jazz 91

Instant analysis: Wizards 104, Jazz 91
March 5, 2014, 9:15 pm
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Earlier in the season, this is the kind of the game the Wizards would let their guard down and lose. That doesn't appear to be the case anymore. John Wall sets the table, Trevor Ariza continues to to set the court ablaze from three-point range and Bradley Beal carried the offense with the second unit en route to the Wizards' seventh victory in eight games to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race Wednesday. 

The Wizards (32-29) split the two-game season series with the Jazz (21-40). 

Ariza made 9 of 14 shots, including 4 of 6 from three, for a game-high 26 points and grabbed five rebounds. In his last six games, Ariza is 26 of 40 shooting from three, or 65%. 

Wall took a back seat from the start as he focused teammates involved though he finished with 14 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 10 assists. Beal logged the bulk of his 34 minutes with the second unit, finishing with 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting. Marcin Gortat posted 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists. 

[RELATED: Al Harrington dribbles behind back, dishes to Gooden (VIDEO)]

Washington led by as many as 15 points in the first half until Marvin Williams made a three-pointer for cut the deficit to 50-44 for Utah. Trey Burke scored 10 points in the first half but was held to just four after that, shooting only 5-for-14. Alec Burks led them with 18 points. 

Turning point: Leading 28-23 after the first quarter, the Wizards were sparked by Beal and four reserves -- Andre Miller, Otto Porter, Al Harrington and Drew Gooden -- and extended the lead to 44-33 before the rest of the starters began to return. They went into the half ahead 54-44 and never trailed after that. 

Key stats: The Wizards had a significant edge with points in the paint, 56-36. ... They shot 54.3% from the field and had 28 assists to 12 turnovers. 

Dynamic trio: Miller, Harrington and Gooden came alive, scoring all of the bench's 22 points. Gooden had 12, his first points since signing a 10-day contract last week, Harrington eight and Miller two. Miller also had six assists. Gooden and Harrington dished out five. Beal had a dunk off an interior pass from Gooden and on the next possession he fed Harrington who drove from the baseline for the finish.  

[RELATED: Beal finishes reverse layup after pass from Harrington (VIDEO)]

Held back: Martell Webster (sore back) was a game-time decision and initially was listed as active by the team. By tipoff, however, he was scratched from the lineup. Porter got minutes, playing 22, but failed to score. His only shot attempt was blocked by Jeremy Evans. Webster came out of the locker room for the second half and sat on the bench to watch the rest of the game.

From the locker room: "I got a lot of open shots. Switching it up, getting to the basket, taking open shots, trying to get to the line, getting down in transition, just playing my game." -- Ariza

"It's great for us to finally close one out. We know in the past we've given up leads and let teams come back in or we get down such large deficits and we try to crawl our way back in. But it's definitely a great feeling for us to be able to come out and put a team away like that." -- Beal

"It was a solid game, start to finish. We, defensively, were much more in tune for the full game. Got our hands on a lot of balls. We got hurt in the first half. ... Offensive rebounds kind of hurt us. They had nine at halftime but we cleaned that up and only gave up three (in the second half). It was big. This was just like Memphis' size that they have on the inside with their bigs." -- WIzards coach Randy Wittman

Around the bend: The Wizards will be off Thursday and practice Friday before leaving for Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Saturday (CSN+, 9 p.m. ET).