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Wizards at Jazz Pregame: Battling a Superiority Complex


Washington (39-28) at Utah (30-36)

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
March 18, 2015 at 10:30 PM
TV: CSNWashington
Radio: 99.1FM

Tale of the Tape

[ezcol_1third]WIZARDS[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third][/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]JAZZ[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]39-28[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]TEAM RECORD[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]30-36[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]98.8[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (own)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]95.1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]97.3[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PPG (opp)[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]95.1[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won 4[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]W/L STREAK[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won 6[/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_1third]Won vs. Blazers 105-97[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third]PREVIOUS GAME[/ezcol_1third][ezcol_1third_end]Won vs. Hornets 94-66[/ezcol_1third_end]

Last time they met was..

December 15, 2014 @ Verizon Center, Washington, DC – Wizards 93, Jazz 84
Game Notebook 23, Wizards vs. Jazz: Wiz preserve home success despite slow start

From the Crystal Ball

What to Watch: The interior. The Jazz feature a number of primary ball handlers who are not great shooters. As a result, a big part of the Jazz offense runs through the paint, whether it’s a drive to the rim, a drive and kick, a post up, or an offensive rebound.

The Jazz also feature perimeter guys who are not exactly behemoths. Paul Pierce and Bradley Beal should be able to draw help on post ups, and drives to the paint, resulting in lay-ups or wide open shots for teammates.

On both ends, for both teams, the shots may not all be on the interior, but that’s where the action will be.

Key matchup: Wizards vs. a superiority complex.

The Wizards are on a 4-game winning streak heading into this game, kinda feelin’ themselves, and may be thinking, “we’re definitely beating the Jazz tonight.” Don’t sleep.

The Jazz are 13-2 since the All-Star break. That’s not a typo. The Jazz ARE 13-2 since the All-Star break. They’ve won 6 straight and won nine of their last 10. They will also have the best wing player on the floor in Gordon Hayward. Don’t let his boyish looks fool you. Dude can ball. He’s averaging 19.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, and 4.2 apg for the season. He also did this in LeBron’s face earlier this season:

If the Wizards have a little let-up because the Jazz are 26-36, they’ll end up let-down after a loss to start their road trip.

X-factor: Rudy Gobert AKA the “Stifle Tower.” If you’re still wondering how the Jazz are 10-2 since the All-Star break, this guy is your explanation.

· Rudy Gobert, PRE-All-Star break: 6.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.2 blocks per game
· Rudy Gobert, POST-All-Star break: 10.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg

In the last 2 weeks, he’s had a 15 pont-24 rebound game, and a 19 point-22 rebound game. If Nene and Gortat and company don’t come in ready to body and box out, they’re going to end up with Kevin Seraphin translating a whole lot of stuff they don’t want to hear.

Fun factor(s): All the Utah guys you’ve never heard of. Expanding your basketball lexicon is always fun, and the Jazz provide a ton of material you’re probably not familiar with or haven’t heard of in a while. Trey Burke. Alec Burks. Rudy Gobert. Quinn Snyder. Derrick Favors. Dante Exum. Add them all to your NBA dictionary. As Snyder gets more time with the group, you’ll hear their names more and more. And when 2018 comes around, you’ll be able to say, “I TOLD you three years ago Rudy Gobert was going to win defensive player of the year!” Saying “I told you so” is always fun, right?

Prediction: In #SoWizards fashion, the Wizards come in not truly believing how good Utah is, and only accept it after it’s too late. Jazz win as their hockey caliber crowd celebrates.

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