SALT LAKE CITY — Joe Ingles, at long last, broke his career-high.
After what felt like a hundred times reaching 27 points (it actually was just seven), Ingles finally shattered the ceiling on Thursday by scoring 34 points.
That was about the only thing the Jazz will want to remember about Thursday's 131-122 loss to the Washington Wizards. Actually, Ingles himself won't care to remember that either.
"I couldn't care less about it. As long as we win, I'm good," Ingles said about his odd streak of tying his career-high last month.
On Thursday, the Jazz (29-11) didn't win, and for most of the 48 minutes weren't even in the game.
The Wizards led by as much as 24 points and had double digit leads after each quarter.
Ingles' 34 points couldn't help the Jazz; neither could Donovan Mitchell's 42 — not with how the Jazz defended.
The Wizards shot 55% from the field and were helpless in stopping Washington's backcourt. Bradley Beal scored 43 points and Russell Westbook had 35 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists to pick up a triple double.
"I think containing the ball, communication," Mitchell said about the team's defensive woes. "That just comes with focus — not sure we've had it the past few games. We just got to step up. At the end of the day, we've got to communicate, keep the ball in front of us, and without that we're gonna have nights like this, and we just gotta pick it up."
Over the last six games, the Jazz are 24th in the league with a 116.7 defensive rating, according to Cleaning the Glass — just a tad bit lower than their season ranking of No. 3. It's no surprise the Jazz are just 2-4 in those games.
"We're not going to get anywhere if we just tried to outscore people," Mitchell said.
The Jazz saw that on Thursday. In the second half, Mitchell was phenomenal on the offensive end. He scored 33 of his 42 points after halftime as he tried to shoot the Jazz back into the game. While it was no doubt fun to see Bradley Beal and Mitchell go at it in the second half (Beal had 30 points in the final two quarters), it meant the Jazz weren't getting back in the game.
Utah got the Washington lead down to 9 points in the third quarter before the Wizards built it back up to near 20, and the Wizards had a similar answer in the final quarter, too. The Jazz went on a lightning fast 8-0 run to pull the game back within 7 with 6:20 remaining. The Jazz were previously down 15 and needed just 64 seconds to suddenly get back in the game — just like that it was game on.
But it was also game off just as fast. The Wizards collected two offensive rebounds on their next two possessions, which led to 4 points, and the Jazz never truly threatened again.
"You're going to expect Beal to make shots, it was a lot of the other thing that we didn't do consistently enough," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
That list was pretty long: The Jazz didn't contest midrange shots or pick up on the point of attack; they didn't box out and complained about the lack of a whistle while the Wizards were scoring on the other; they didn't rotate and let Westbrook get far too deep. In the end, they didn't do a lot of things right.
"I mean, we didn't get stops all night," Ingles said. "So I can write a nice long list on what we didn't do."
That's why Ingles' career-night, where he was 12-of-17 from the field, and 8-of-10 from 3, will be remembered as a loss — and a pretty bad one at that.
"I would say we had a great plan drawn up, we just didn't execute it to our best of our abilities," Mitchell said.