Jan 25, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) looks at the basket while being guarded by Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) during the third quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Utah Jazz won the game 104-101. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Jazz: Game Time, Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction

Washington’s winning streak finally came to an end on Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, but they’ll have a chance to get a bounce back win at home tonight against the Utah Jazz. The game will tip of at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Despite sporting one of the worst records in the league, and the worst road record in the Western Conference (ESPN), the Utah Jazz still have some young talent on their team and they’ve been led by Gordon Hayward, who’s becoming one of the better swing men in the NBA. Hayward has gained recognition for being able to score the ball, but he’s also become more versatile this season. He’s averaged about 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, and has shown steady improvement since coming into the league from Butler University.

With that said, Bradley Beal will be faced with a tough task in defending Hayward, but he also has to find a way to contribute on the offensive side of the floor. Beal has struggled mightily over the past few games and he hasn’t shown the consistency we hoped to have seen in his sophomore season. Beal has to improve his shot selection to contribute on a regular basis, but he’ll have a chance to score the ball tonight since the Jazz are one of the league’s worst defensive teams. Instead of constantly settling for mid-range jump shots, Beal needs to attack the basket, especially since the Jazz don’t have very many rim protectors on their roster.

Notes:

  • Martell Webster is expected to play tonight after missing Monday’s game with a sore back. Washington has limited their players coming off an injury, so we still might see Otto Porter get some playing time tonight.
  • Kevin Seraphin will be out tonight, missing his fifth straight game.
  • Utah is 28th in points per game and have the 8th worst offensive rating in the NBA. They also have the worst defensive rating. So yeah, they’re pretty bad.

Prediction:

Washington lost a very winnable game against the Jazz on the road earlier this season, but I think they’ve finally learned how to win games they’re supposed to win on paper.

John Wall has becoming more assertive and he should be able to score the ball with ease against the Jazz. Bradley Beal will also get a ton of open looks, but he has to do a better job of knocking those down, especially since he typically won’t get that many open shots considering how well defenses have been playing him lately.

The Jazz are also one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA, so Marcin Gortat and Trevor Booker shouldn’t have an issue on the boards.

I think the Wizards are going to get the home win tonight.

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