Wizards star point guard John Wall dribbled quickly down the court as the few precious ticks on the clock faded away.
He rose from well beyond the arc and launched, the ball traveling while those filling the stadium waited breathlessly.
Like many of his shots Saturday night, the ball clanked off the rim and fell harmlessly to the hardwood. It allowed Utah to escape with a 104-101 win — keyed in large part by the Jazz’s ability to contain Wall. The guard finished with just 13 points and four assists on 4-of-14 shooting, well under his season averages of 20.1 and 8.6.
"We made him work for everything he got," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "He had some good looks, but they made him work the whole night. He’s a tough player, a very good player in the league."
Trey Burke guarded Wall for much of the night. Corbin said succeeding against a player like Wall is a big step in the rookie’s development.
"For our young guys, especially Trey [Burke], to see the different talent you have to play against on a nightly basis and the adjustments you have to make, especially on the defensive end," Corbin said. "... I thought he did a good job of making [Wall] work."
Wall had just four points entering the fourth quarter but finally was able to get some shots to go. When he made consecutive baskets near the four-minute mark, it appeared he may have been getting ready to take over the game. But the Jazz held him to one field goal the rest of the way.
Wall was dejected after the game. He lay on his stomach on the trainer’s table after receiving treatment and spoke of missed opportunities.
"I felt like I had good shots," he said. "They just wasn’t falling. Then Trevor Ariza told me to be more aggressive the last five minutes of the game and I made a couple shots. I wish those shots would go in, but it was just one of those nights for our team where nobody was clicking but Trevor."
Wall did have his moments, despite experiencing a subpar night. The guard, who in his fourth season is establishing himself as one of the best point guards in the league, banked in a 3 with three ticks left in the fourth to pull the Wizards within a point.
"John Wall made a circus shot, that 3-pointer," Corbin said. "I wish that wouldn’t have went in. I could have breathed a little easier."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.