Do you remember the last time the Utah Jazz won against the Washington Wizards, in D.C.? Okay, it wasn't that far back, a November game in 2012; but it just feels like the Jazz always get blasted there.The MLK game a few seasons ago, the Gilbert Arenas era, the team even struggled with them back when Michael Jordan was on their club. I don't know what it is about the Wizards, but they seem to have some sort of 'spell' upon the Jazz. I can believe it, as the Jazz, while boasting a winning head to head record overall, and in Utah (doy), just can't get it done in Washington.
It does not look to get any easier tonight as road teams are shooting only .419 in the Verizon center, and averaging only 96.5 ppg. The Jazz, a team only average 96.1 ppg, and shoot .459 -- but it would still be a step down to get ensorcelled by the arcane magic users tonight. The Wizards have something to fight for in this game, as their 16-6 record puts them in a three way tie with the 1969-70 and 1974-75 Baltimore Bullets for the second best start in franchise history. Breaking a record against the Jazz in an afternoon game seems like the Jazzy thing to do.
The 11-2 Wizards, who are undefeated there this month, play defense, and quickly get out in transition. The 2-8 road warriors, the Jazz, well, defense is a work in progress.
It's going to be a tough game for the Jazz without Derrick Favors (Out with a sprained right ankle sustained in the Miami Heat game). He will not be the only player out, as Martell Webster and Glen Rice Jr. will both be out for the Wizards, Webster hasn't played a game yet this season, and Rice has been assigned to the NBADL right now. At full strength and in Utah I think our boys have a chance. Tonight, in their gym, without our best defensive player? Yikes.
Gordon Hayward continues to be the man for the Jazz, and with Derrick Favors out I expect we'll see him attempt to shoulder more of the load. Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert need to continue stepping up in the paint. There is no reason why they shouldn't be able to, the shorter one is 6'11 and built like a character out of mythology; the other is three inches taller and can dunk by blinking.
But it seems like the problems for the Jazz will remain with the guards. Not to name names here, but I'd like to see some more consistent play from them. We haven't seen Patrick Christopher yet, and unless the 6'5 guard grew a few inches, I don't think we will tonight either. There's no way he beats out Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Joe Ingles, and Dante Exum on the rotation -- especially when he's already behind Ian Clark and Toure' Murry.
- Point Guard: Trey Burke vs. John Wall
- Shooting Guard: Alec Burks vs. Bradley Beal
- Small Forward: Gordon Hayward vs. Paul Pierce
- Power Forward: Trevor Booker vs. Nene Hilario
- Center: Enes Kanter vs. Marcin Gortat
I will say that almost anything is possible when you play the Wizards in their gym.
GO JAZZ GO!
Who is going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
The Washington Wizards
The Rochester Rogues
The Philadelphia Phighters
The Culver City Clerics
The Utah Jazz
Roll twice and take the lower die