Ariza Scores 26 Points; Wizards Beat Jazz 104-91
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WASHINGTON — Trevor Ariza scored 26 points, Bradley Beal added 22, and the Washington Wizards took an early lead and never lost it Wednesday night, shooting 54 percent in a 104-91 win over the Utah Jazz.
John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who have won seven of eight.
This one was noteworthy if only for substantial contributions from recent additions Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, two thirty-somethings who teamed up for a run that padded the lead in the first half.
Alec Burks scored 19 points, and Trey Burke added 14 to lead the Jazz, who have dropped the first four games of their six-game road trip. Their 7-24 road record is the worst in the Western Conference.
The Wizards led by as many as 15 in both the second and third quarters, but they never could put the Jazz away. Diante Garrett’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to five early in the fourth, and it wasn’t until Ariza made it 96-85 with a 3-pointer with 4:11 to play that the Wizards could start to feel somewhat comfortable.
Thirty-year-old Gooden and 37-year-old Miller made their marks early in the second quarter. Gooden, playing his fourth game of a 10-day contract after sitting idle since last summer, scored his first points of the season by rolling off eight quick points.
Three of the four baskets came on assists from Miller, who was acquired in a trade deadline deal two weeks ago from the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets shipped Miller after he had been excused from the team since his argument with the coach during a game on New Year’s Day.
Gooden finished with 12 points, his first double-digit game since April 21, 2012. Miller finished with six assists, his most since Dec. 23.
In addition, the quiet Verizon Center crowd got to see some buzzer-beaters. Jeremy Evans banked in a 21-footer to wrap up the first quarter after each team committed a turnover in the final two seconds. Wall ended the first half with a fast-break reverse slam after poking the ball away from Burke. Evans struck again at the end of the third quarter with a baseline jumper with one-tenth of a second on the clock.
The Wizards improved to 4-1 since Nene was sidelined with a knee injury. Ariza and Gortat have noticeably stepped up in the Brazilian big man’s absence. Ariza was 4 for 6 from 3-point range Wednesday and is 26 for 40 over his past six games.
Notes: Wizards F Kevin Seraphin missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore right knee, while F Martell Webster sat out his second straight with a sore back. … Gortat grabbed his 3,000th career rebound.
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