There is already pressure playing on an NBA Summer League team. Add the team's star player sitting courtside and the spotlight just got brighter.
With John Wall looking on, the #20 Washington Wizards rose to the occasion. They defeated the #13 Utah Jazz 86-78 in tournament action Tuesday evening at Cox Pavilion.
The Wizards dominated early on and took a 33-18 lead in the first quarter with a balanced team attack. Nine of the ten players who were on the court scored at least two points. The Jazz shot 65.0 percent (13-for-20) from the field. Bryce Cotton (6 points) was the only Jazz player to net more than one field goal.
The Jazz ramped up their defense in the second quarter to hold the Wizards to 19 points. Still, the Wizards held a commanding 52-35 lead at halftime. Scott Machado, who competed in Estonia last season, led all players with 11 points after two quarters.
The Jazz tied to make the game into a tale of two halves. They outscored the Wizards, 23-22, in the third quarter. Cotton, who appeared in 15 games for the Jazz last season, scored another six points in the third. Former D-League players Shawn Jones and Jamil Wilson also scored six apiece for the Wizards, who took a 74-58 lead.
The Jazz opened the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run and cut the deficit to three points, 74-71. They held the Wizards scoreless until Orlando Johnson made a layup with 5:06 to go. But the Wizards stretched their lead back up to 10 late in the game and held on for the eight-point win.
Machado led the Wizards with 17 points (5-8 FG, 0-2 3PG, 7-8 FT) and 8 assists. Johnson, who played in the D-League last season, recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. First round draft pick Kelly Oubre Jr. (12 points), Jones (10 points) and Wilson (10 points) also finished in double digits.
For the Jazz, Cotton finished the night with a game-high 20 points (7-17 FG, 2-4 3PG, 4-4 FT). Brock Motum, who most recently played overseas, finished with 11 points off the bench.
The Wizards improved to 2-2 and will play the #4 New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday. The Jazz fell to 1-3 and will face the loser of the Dallas Mavericks-Los Angeles Lakers game on Friday.