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The Stifle Tower returns as the Utah Jazz face the Washington Wizards

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Rudy Gobert is back and not a moment too soon.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz (12-11) will once again enjoy the services of Rudy Gobert as he returns from a knee injury for the matchup against the Washington Wizards (12-10) tonight in Salt Lake City.

The Jazz at the highest point they’ve been at all season. That may not be much if you’re a fan of teams like the Warriors, Cavaliers, Celtics or even the Rockets considering Jazz are barely above .500. But there’s a lot to be excited about a team looking to win its sixth straight game.


Game Info:

When: December 4, 2017 7:00 PM MST

Where: Vivint SmartHome Arena

TV: AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain

Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone

Injuries

Washington Wizards:

PG John Wall - OUT (Knee)

SG Sheldon Mac - OUT (Achilles)

Utah Jazz:

SG Rodney Hood - OUT (Ankle)

SF/PF Joe Johnson – OUT (Wrist)

PG Dante Exum– OUT (Shoulder)

Not Rudy Gobert

Things to watch for

Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors dynamic

NBA: Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Utah Jazz have found offensive nirvana since Rudy Gobert’s injury. His vacancy has allowed Jonas Jerebko to enter the starting lineup and create extra spacing for Utah. It isn’t Gobert’s fault the Jazz’s offense was terrible. It simply was the result of three non shooters sharing the floor together: Ricky Rubio, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert.

What’s the starting lineup going to be when Rudy Gobert returns? Will Ricky Rubio still get the start and Derrick Favors come off the bench? Or will Rubio come off the bench with the Jazz starting Favors and Gobert? Whatever the plan is, those three have enough data together to show that they can’t all play together without a severe downgrade in spacing and offensive performance.

How does Donovan Mitchell follow up 41 points?

Donovan Mitchell put on a show against the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s now had three days of hearing hype and how amazing he is. (Spoiler: He is amazing.) How is he going to stay grounded and go to work against the Wizards. He’s going to be the front page of the scouting report. He has shown that he doesn’t shy away from the limelight, but 41 points is hard to follow up. If there’s anyone who can keep himself grounded, it’s Spida-man.

The return of Raul Neto

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Before Neto went out with an injury he was playing great off the bench in the backup point guard role. He even was taking a big chunk of Rubio’s minutes. With his return do we see Rubio’s minutes take another hit? Or does Donovan Mitchell take those minutes away from Neto, preventing Neto from returning?

Most likely Jazz Killer: John Wall

NBA: Washington Wizards at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall is just so fast. It’s hard for anyone to stick with him. The Jazz will probably put Mitchell to guard him and slow him down with Rubio as well. This is a tough guard for anyone, and the Utah Jazz have to keep themselves from getting into foul trouble with him. Keep an eye out for this one.