Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
After another long break, Jazz basketball is back.
Tonight the Jazz are back against the powerhouse Wizards. Ok, they're not exactly that, but they have been playing quite well since John Wall came back from injury. They have won only 9 games all season, and 5 of those have come in the last 7 games, where they have gone 5-2. This includes wins over the Nuggets, Thunder, and Trailblazers, and a close game against the Clippers. The Jazz seem to concur that the Wizards are not to be taken lightly these days and lets hope their play backs up their talk. The Wizards actually match up well against the Jazz in the front court, with vets Nene and Emeka Okafor in the starting lineup (6'11" and 6'10", respectively), and Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker coming off the bench. That starting lineup could pose a problem for the Jazz starting big men, especially the much smaller Paul Millsap. True, Okafor is not much of an offensive threat, but look for the Wizards to try and exploit that size advantage right out of the gate. On offense, if Al struggles against the more agile Nene, look for Paul to use his ball handling and that step back jumper against the slower Okafor.
Certainly, the next spots to watch on the floor are going to be in the back court. The Wizards have been starting AJ Price as Wall continues to get his game legs under him, but that doesn't mean he won't play a good amount of minutes. Wall will most likely see time against Tinsley and Watson, and both of them are going to have their hands full. Wall isn't shooting that well (40%), but he has been aggressive in his 6 games back with his team, averaging 6 FTA a game. An aggressive Wall could wreak havoc against the older, foul prone, Jazz guards and I would not be surprised to see Burks get time running the point with Foye.
The other potential problem is Bradley Beal. He doesn't have a size advantage over Foye as we have seen so many times in matchups against other teams, but he does have the advantage of being younger and quicker. While its true that Beal is capable of some big numbers, I don't see it happening in this game. No, the real potential problem maker and "Jazz Killer" is going to be Jordan Crawford. JCraw, as he is known to his adoring Wizards fans is just the right mix of fearless chucker that fits right in the annals of past Jazz Killers. It will most likely fall on DeMarre Carroll and Gordon Hayward to control this potentially devastating force.
Speaking of Burks at the point with Foye, the line up of Burks-Foye-Hayward-Jefferson-Millsap has played just 19.6 minutes together, but man has it been good. In that short span, they have a win% off 80, are scoring 1.5 points per possession, while allowing 0.95, and are +26. Even if those numbers are inflated due to matchups, they are some of the best numbers we have seen from any of the Jazz's lineups. When the matchups are favorable this Coach Ty should definitely give this lineup some time together.
In the past, I have asked for people's suggestions at the best place to watch Jazz games. Since then, I have watched games at a couple of joints.
First, Lumpy's Downtown: The service was good for most of the game and the sampler appetizer thing was alright. Not going to lie though, the chairs kind of sucked. I mean, they were comfortable, but once you were in you sunk so far into them that it was impossible to get out. Not to mention the potential for a hot wing related catastrophe trying to get go from the table to your face, whilst wearing your expensive suit because you just got off work.
It was the last game against the Lakers and there was a pleasant dearth of douche nozzle Lakers fans, so that was a plus. Overall, I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5.
Second, Lucky 13: The burgers are phenomenal. The waitress was very good. They were great about making sure that everyone at the table could see the game by turning it on multiple tv's (Minus points for even having to ask. I mean, it's the Jazz game and they had it on some minor league hockey game rerun). The only real negative was the issue of the abysmal choice of music. This place is adorned with iron crosses all over the place and most of the time the music was of the brooding variety found on a maladjusted adolescent's iPod. Still, I give the place 4 out of 5.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching and the Jazz being in the flexible position they are in (UDQM?), we are starting to see all manner of trade proposals being fired up on ESPN's ol' Trade Machine. Here's a link to an article I wrote around this time last year. Read it. Heed it. And be the best fan GM you can be.