WASHINGTON - The Washington Wizards beat the Northwest Division-leading Utah Jazz 95-87 to snap a season-opening five-game losing streak on Wednesday.
Washington scored 12 straight points during a two-minute stretch late in the game to turn a one-point deficit into a 93-82 advantage.
"What we saw tonight was what we can become, what we can be, if we work hard for 48 minutes and respect the game of basketball," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan told reporters.
"We hope it is a sign of what we can do on a nightly basis."
The Wizards, anchored by a defense that came up with 11 steals and 10 blocked shots, became the last team in the NBA to taste victory by out-hustling one of the top sides in the Western Conference.
"We had to be disruptive," said Jordan. "We had to throw off their timing by doing lot of different things defensively. We had to keep them guessing."
Utah, unable to overcome the loss of center Mehmet Okur who was in Turkey visiting his sick father, lost for just the second time in eight games.
"The Wizards outplayed us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They seemed to want the game a little more than we did. They're going to be a good team, there isn't any question about that in my mind."
Carlos Boozer scored 20 points for the Jazz and C.J. Miles added 16.
Washington avoided their worst-ever start to a season by outscoring the Jazz 32-14 from the free-throw line and holding a 42-37 edge in rebounds.
There was a sense of deja vu for the Wizards, who opened last season with an 0-5 record but went on to win 43 games and advance to the playoffs.
"There's a little relief but we still have our work cut out for us," said forward Caron Butler, who paced Washington with 27 points.