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Stop us if you’ve heard this before - Wizards lose in latest chance to get over .500
SALT LAKE CITY — Big Turk lived up to his nickname.
“The big man played big tonight,” said Gordon Hayward, who hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to seal the win.
Kanter made 11 of 13 shots and the Jazz overcame a 13-point deficit to take control in the fourth quarter and keep the Wizards from moving above the .500 mark for the first time in more than four years. Kanter also took the pressure off of Derrick Favors, who is dealing with a sore hip.
Trevor Ariza led Washington with 23 points, including a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left that drew the Wizardswithin 101-98.
Kanter scored a total of eight points in two blowout losses to Minnesota and drew his coach’s ire for often being in the wrong spots. But in this one, Kanter consistently found himself in the right place at the right time — picking up loose balls, making timely passes and changing the Wizards‘ shots in the paint.
“I personally was really bad two games against Minnesota, but tonight I wanted to come out with lots of energy,” Kanter said.
The muscular center from Turkey displayed a deft shooting touch on jumpers and power moves to the basket. When Ariza’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 92-90, Kanter hit a jump shot. With 57 seconds left, he made two free throws to give Utah a 101-95 cushion after a nifty reverse-pivot down the lane that drew a foul.
Utah’s schedule has allowed for practices in the past few weeks and the young Jazz players have benefited from the extra work.
“My coaches have given me a lot of confidence and we’ve been practicing really hard,” Kanter said. “The things I have been trying to do and now showing in the games.”
“We did a good job of attacking them after playing inside-out. We attacked them in transition, attacked them in the half court,” said Trey Burke, who had 12 points and eight assists.
By David Keene
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