There’s no way around it—the Utah Jazz are bad on the road. It’s almost the all-star break, and our team boasts a meager three wins on the road. Some have been heartbreakers, (like the most recent one in Miami) but most have been beatdowns. It’s often said that defense travels, but that hasn’t been the case this year. True, Rudy Gobert’s injury has been disastrous, but the lockdown defense that we’ve often seen at home is spotty at best outside of Salt Lake City.
If they want to beat the Wizards, the Jazz are going to have to find it. Washington, powered by their solid backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, scores an average of about 106 points per game. They’re on a bit of a roll as of late, going 7-3 in their last 10, but are coming off a 110-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. One concern that the good folks at Bullets Forever have is the Wizards’ inability to close:
Against a stronger Bucks team, those struggles were too much to overcome. Wall chimed in 16 points and 16 assists and Beal chipped in 20 points but both struggled with their shot throughout the game as they combined to shoot 12-of-38 from the floor. The Wizards led most of the game despite their struggles, but their issues were amplified in the fourth quarter. Wall scored 2 points but went 0-for-5 from the field, Beal was 1-for-7, 4 points, Everyone else was 4-for-7 for 12 points.
“You understand that Wall and Beal are going to be the focal point, and I thought that we were guarding those two. It wasn’t just one-on-one. It was team defense,” Bucks Coach Jason Kidd said. “Everybody helped each other and tried to make it as tough as possible.”
If the Wizards want to improve their late fourth-quarter play, then the hero ball needs to stop. We all know that Wall and Beal are the team’s best players, so the ball is in their hands during the crucial moments of the game, but they don’t realize how the hero ball play hurts the offense. They are a combined 1-for-20 from the field in the fourth quarter of the last two games.
So, it seems that the Jazz have hope. They just need to avoid having a complete meltdown in the third, and then Donovan Mitchell can torch the Wizards in the fourth. Right? Right?
When: Wednesday, January 10th, 5:00pm MDT
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Rudy Gobert - Knee
Raul Neto - Head/knee
Dante Exum - Shoulder
Derrick Favors - right ankle sprain (or trading block-itis. Hm.)
Otto Porter - hip, back (PROBABLE for today’s game, though)
Shelvin Mack Sheldon Mac - achilles
What to Watch For:
Jazz Frontcourt vs. Wiz Frontcourt
The Jazz have had Marcin Gortat’s number for quite awhile. I have fond memories of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors metaphorically beating him up and taking his lunch money back during the Tyrone Corbin days. Markieff Morris is an okay player, and backup center Ian Mahinmi can be fun to watch. The biggest factor may be the bench. Can Ekpe Udoh, Jonas Jerebko, and Joe Johnson score and defend against Mahinmi, Jason Smith, and Mike Scott? I think they can.
John Wall vs. Ricky Rubio
Ricky Rubio vs. Himself
For the Jazz to win, Ricky needs to take care of the basketball. Sometimes he tries to get a little too creative with his passes, and ends up throwing the ball away. Giving a bunch of fast breaks team that scores 106 ppg = bad.
The Return of Otto Porter?
Brooks says Otto Porter Jr. is “good to go” tomorrow vs #Jazz— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) January 9, 2018
It appears that Washington’s fringe star Otto Porter Jr. is back in the starting lineup. This is a problem, because he gives them one more weapon, both on offense and defense, to use against the Jazz. He may not be quite at full strength, but Joe Ingles will still have his work cut out for him.
Who Wins Tonight?
This poll is closed
The Banana Stand