Jan 23, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) dribbles around Washington Wizards small forward Martell Webster (9) during the second half at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz won 92-88. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz preview: Another chance to get above .500

After pulling off an upset against the Phoenix Suns last night, the Washington Wizards will have another chance to get over .500 against a struggling team away from home. Washington will meet the Utah Jazz for the first time this season tonight at 9:00 PM EST.

Key Match Up:

The rebuilding Jazz haven’t had much to stay optimistic about lately, sporting just 14 wins on the season, but Gordon Hayward has emerged as one of the best young swing men in the NBA. After missing 5-games with an hip injury, Hayward returned to Utah’s lineup on Tuesday, scoring 27 points in a losing effort to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hayward is averaging over 17 points to go along side 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game, and he’s capable of really lighting it up once he gets it going. Without many offensive weapons on the roster, Utah relies on Hayward for a lot of their production in the scoring department. Utah has traditionally been a team that plays through their big men, but Hayward has been forced to carry the load this season.

With that said, Trevor Ariza is going to have to step up defensively for Washington tonight. Ariza is probably Washington’s best perimeter defender, but he still has a tendency to give up some open looks, especially when he’s lurking inside the passing lanes. Bradley Beal has also been inconsistent defensively this season and he has to help out on Hayward, especially if Utah decides to play both Richard Jefferson and Hayward like they’ve been doing this season. If Ariza or Beal disrupt Hayward, the Jazz will undoubtedly struggle scoring the ball.

Notes:

  • Tonight will be the 5th chance for Washington to get over the .500 mark.
  • Utah is 27th in points per game, 24 in rebounds, and 24 in assists. Needless to say, they struggle offensively.
  • The Jazz have the worst defensive efficiency in the league and are in the bottom 10 offensively.
  • Derrick Favors is questionable tonight.

Prediction:

Washington should be able to get a comfortable win over the Jazz tonight, but it all depends on which team shows up. The Wizards had 5 chances to get above .500 and lost every contest, including multiple games that they should’ve won at home. They managed to beat the Suns away from home and they should be able to get the win tonight.

John Wall and Bradley Beal should be able to have the advantage over any of Utah’s guards and Washington’s frontcourt should be able to dominate the glass. Utah has lost more games at home than they’ve won, so the Wizards shouldn’t be up against any disadvantage.

I think the Wizards will get the win tonight, but it all depends on which team shows up. They can’t take the night off like they did against the Boston Celtics earlier this week.

Next Wizards Game Full schedule »
Wednesday, Oct 2929 Oct7:30at Miami HeatBuy Tickets

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