The Utah Jazz (36-22) have grabbed their popcorn and headed to the nation’s capital for a Sunday matinee against the Washington Wizards (34-22). Washington, the Eastern Conference 3 seed, is coming off a 120-112 road loss vs. the Philadelphia 76ers.
Don’t be fooled: The Wizards have been on an absolute tear recently and haven’t lost consecutive games since January 3rd. This is also Utah’s first game against Trey Burke! Is a #RevengeGame in order? (Ed. Note: Nope.)
Superior Conference Western Conference 4 seed, has been streaky all year and is currently riding a two game mini-streak. The Wizards are 24-7 at home this season while Utah is 16-11 on the road. Utah’s post-All-Star break schedule is the 4th toughest in the league and this game is one of the reasons why. Washington has been healthy all season and are starting to understand how all of their pieces fit together. Gee, that sounds nice.
Washington Wizards starting 5 has played 989 minutes together 100 more than any other 5. Jazz starters have played 116 mins together— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) February 26, 2017
John Wall vs George Hill
Bradley Beal vs Rodney Hood
Otto Porter vs Gordon Hayward
Markieff Morris vs Derrick Favors
Marcin Gortat vs Rudy Gobert
Marquee Match-Up: John Wall vs George Hill
John Wall is an NBA All-Star. George Hill is similarly talented. During G-Hill’s time in the Eastern Conference these two matched up against each other numerous times, including a 2014 playoff series that saw Hill’s Indiana Pacers oust Wall and the Wizards in six games. Wall has been consistent most of the season while Hill has been on a roller-coaster ride of injuries.
When Hill is healthy he is good! When not 100% his play leaves something to be desired (like anyone, duh). Is his toe injury still affecting him on court? There’s a good chance. In Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks Hill scored 19 points (3-4 3PT) and 4 steals but just 1 rebound and 1 assist. His shot is fine and he does shoot a lot of spot-up jumpers, but I think his mobility may still be hampered a little bit by his nagging toe injury. I’m giving John Wall the edge in this match-up but thank goodness both teams have 4 more players on the court.
X-Factor: La Tour Étouffante
This is usually some sort of intangible like “Teamwork” or “Chutzpah” by this afternoon I think the biggest x-factor will be Rudy Gobert. If you’ve watched the Jazz play this season you know that Rudy usually has the biggest effect on the game. Today I think this will especially be the case since Rudy was just fined $25k by the NBA. I’ll let you click through the link for details but needless to say I think Gobert will be fired up after having to fork over the monetary equivalent of 100,000 Chicken McNuggets.
Honestly, even with my homer glasses on this game would still be a 50/50 toss up to me. I’m gonna flip a coin to decide. Heads: Utah wins. Tails: Washington loses.
It was heads.