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Utah Jazz hold off Wizards’ rally to win
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Marvin Williams scores on lay-up past Washington's Emeka Okafor in the first half of their basketball game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz guard Randy Foye loses control of an inbound pass to Washington's Jordan Crawford in the first half of their basketball game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz guard Jamaal Tinsley puts up a shot over Emeka Okafor in the first half of their basketball game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Paul Millsap slams the ball in the first half of their basketball game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Paul Millsap puts up a floater first half of a basketball game against the Washington Wizards at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz center Enes Kanter drains a jump shot over Washington's Trevor Booker (35) and Kevin Seraphin (13) at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward lays the ball up over Washington's Kevin Seraphin at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is fouled by Washington's Emeka Okafor in the first half of a game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward must continue improving like he was before his shoulder surgery during the second half of the Jazz's season.
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz center Al Jefferson is blocked by Washington's Emeka Okafor with defense from Martell Webster (right) in the first half of a game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.
Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap (24) and Washington Wizards' Emeka Okafor (50) battle under the boards as they wait for a rebound during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz won 92-88. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
(Lennie Mahler  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  
Jazz center Al Jefferson during introductions before a basketball game against the Washington Wizards at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 23, 2013.
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“Defensively, they take it up,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They’re a lot more aggressive on the pick-and-roll. They cover each other faster because they’re younger, more athletic guys.”

But that comes with its drawbacks. Corbin started a second unit in the fourth quarter that was lethargic and, he said, tense.

“We got stagnant because the pressure was on,” Corbin said. “If they can play free, it’s better. When there’s a little bit pressure, they tend to think a little bit more.”

The Jazz never relinquished their lead, and were quickly settled by a defensive stand that saw the Wizards fail to score on 10 of 11 possessions as the Jazz built an 88-82 lead.

While they’re closing out games, the Jazz certainly are not doing it emphatically.

The Jazz are less than two weeks removed from a 103-95 loss in Atlanta in which they blew a 15-point lead.

Story continues below

Subsequently, they have seen leads of 13 (Detroit), 21 (Miami) and, now, 22 almost entirely disappear before pulling out wins.

“It’s a concern,” Corbin said, “but you win the games, so you don’t go crazy about it.”

Randy Foye said the team has progressed since the Atlanta game, which, in this conversation, may be used as a line of demarcation. The figurative line in the sand where one could imagine the Jazz banding together and saying that they’d bend, but not break.

“I just think growth [is] the biggest thing,” Foye said. “We are growing as a unit every single day. Obviously today we’re happy we got the win, but kind of disappointed in the way we finished things. We should have taken the lead to 30 and definitely blown them out.”

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribjazz

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Utah, with a history of close calls, holds off Washington’s rally.

At a glance

Jazz 92, Wizards 88

O The Jazz see a 22-point lead cut to two in the fourth quarter but hang on.

» Four Jazz starters score in double digits as Utah shoots 44 percent, compared with the Wizards’ 36 percent.

» After playing three games in 12 days, the Jazz have four in the next six.

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