– The Utah Jazz will take on the Washington Wizards for the first of two meetings this season. In fact, the Wizards are the only team that the Jazz have not played yet this season.
– The last time these teams met was March 17th of last season, when the Jazz handled the Wiz at home by a score of 103-88. In that game, like this game, Gilbert Arenas was not active. The leading scorers in that contest for Washington were Juan Dixon and Nick Young who each scored 14. The Jazz were led by Kyle Korver who netted 15 on 6-9 shooting. Now I’m not a prophet, but I can guarantee that Dixon will not be amongst the top scorers in tonight’s game, as he is no longer with Washington. As for Young, he has been playing less minutes and should not factor into this game too much.
– The Wizards have been getting unbelievable production out of their forward Andray Blatche since they have put him in the starting lineup. In the last 14 games, Blatche is averaging 24.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg. There is a good chance that he will be matched up with Carlos Boozer tonight. Based on Blatche’s recent numbers and Boozer’s body of work this season, that could turn out to be the game’s most important match-up. If Boozer can play like the player who won Western Conference Player of the Month honors in February, he should have no problem owning the inexperienced Blatche. However, if he plays like the sluggish Boozer, which we have seen of late, especially defensively, then Blatche might put up big numbers once again.
– A feel-good story coming out of Washington was the performance by Shaun Livingston on Saturday night against the Orlando Magic. Although the Wizards dropped the game, the play of Livingston was inspiring to say the least. In nearly 31 minutes, Livingston shot 8-11 from the field, as he put in 18 points and dropped 8 dimes. It was easily Livingston’s most productive game in a long time, and it was nice to see him get back to pre-injury status. I wish him all the best moving forward, as I have been a big fan of his since he entered the league. If you’ve never seen his injury, CLICK HERE. (Don’t watch if you’re squeamish)
– The Wizards are currently on a 7-game losing streak, and they are just hoping to finish the season out with a respectable record. If they can pick off Utah tonight, in a spot where the Jazz might be vulnerable, the Wizards will feel great. Beating a quality team is always a wonderful feeling, especially if it ends a 7-game skid.
– As of right now the statuses of AK, Memo, and Price are in the air. If none of them play, it would be test for the Jazz to overcome. To have to go 9 deep in back-to-back games is a recipe for disaster, and the Jazz cannot have that happen right now. They are in a tight race in the Western Conference, and every game matters, especially against the weaker teams.
– Because the Jazz don’t want to go 9 deep once again, Jerry Sloan said there is a good chance that Kosta Koufos will be called up for tonight’s game. He played very well in the last two games with the Utah Flash, as he averaged 23 points and 14 rebounds in a back-to-back over the weekend. All the Jazz really need from him is a body. Any points and rebounds would be a cherry on top that they would welcome with open arms.