Game thread: Back on the road, Utah Jazz face Washington Wizards

The Utah Jazz head back out on the road on Sunday to pursue a ninth straight win when they face the injury beleaguered Washington Wizards.

The Utah Jazz continue to tear through their opposition as they won their second straight game in blowout fashion on Friday when they defeated the Charlotte Hornets 109-92. This victory marked Utah’s eighth straight win and their 13th victory in the last 14 games. It was also enough to propel them to fourth in the West, just a half-game behind the second-place Denver Nuggets and third-place LA Clippers.

Sure, during this run the Jazz have largely only played lackluster opponents. But the fact of the matter is that you can only play the teams in front of you and the Jazz have done exceptionally well at that. By all counts, if they continue this level of play once the level of opponent heightens, they should still be able to be just as competitive and effective.

However, they have a few easier games still ahead before they get to that point, beginning on Sunday when the Utah Jazz once again head out on the road for a matinee matchup against the Washington Wizards.

It’s been a discouraging season for the Wizards as they’ve dealt with an onslaught of injuries and an overall inexperienced roster, but they still have some promising guys on the team that will be challenging for the Jazz to deal with. Davis Bertans is back in action after a lengthy injury absence and he has been an absolute sniper from three. With so many players missing time, Troy Brown Jr. and Jordan McRae are others who have stepped up and played well of late.

And while the Wizards’ 13-25 record is nothing to write home about, they’ve been decent on their home court at 8-10, so the Jazz will have to do more than merely show up to win. Fortunately, they’ve done a great job lately of taking care of business against inferior teams and currently boast one of the best records in the league against sub-.500 opponents.

Ideally that will keep up on Sunday when Utah heads to the nation’s capital for the first of a three-game road trip seeking their ninth consecutive victory.

Game Data

Broadcast Info

Tip-off: 1:30 PM MT on January 12, 2020 from the Capital One Arena in Washington DC
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM & 1280 AM Salt Lake City)

Projected Starting Lineups

Utah JazzPositionCharlotte Hornets
Rudy GobertCIan Mahinmi
Royce O’NealePFDavis Bertans
Bojan BogdanovicSFJordan McRae
Joe InglesSGGary Payton II
Donovan MitchellPGIsaiah Thomas

 

With all the Wizards’ injury woes (more on that in a moment), their starting lineup is a bit of a revolving door. Though Bertans didn’t start in their last game against Atlanta, he looked great in that contest in his first game back from injury and I’d suspect he’ll be re-inserted into the starting five on Sunday.

Injuries

As of this writing, there is no additional update on Mike Conley‘s status as he has missed several games with a hamstring injury. Ideally, he’ll make the trip with the Jazz and be able to suit up at some point, but don’t be surprised if he stays back in Utah to rehab. Also, it’s worth noting that Donovan Mitchell was sick in the game against the Hornets and didn’t play well as a result. Luckily his team picked up his slack, but hopefully he’ll be back to 100 percent on Sunday.

On the Wizards’ side, there are a number of injuries. Of course, John Wall likely won’t suit up at all this year as he’s sidelined with an Achilles injury. Former Jazzman C.J. Miles is also out for the year. Washington’s best player, Bradley Beal, is dealing with a lower leg injury and is unlikely to play against Utah.

They are also without Thomas Bryant (foot), Garrison Mathews (ankle), Rui Hachimura (groin) and Moritz Wagner (ankle). Talk about the walking wounded.

Prediction

With so many key guys missing for the Wizards, the Jazz really have no reason to not simply dominate this game. Factor in as well that the Jazz starters were able to play shortened minutes in each of their past two games since they led by so many points in the final period, and we should see a well-rested squad in this road contest.

I’m going to go with the Jazz once again winning in blowout fashion and project a 120-101 victory.

Next: Utah Jazz players call for Georges Niang to participate in 3-Point Contest

Discussion

#UTAatWAS is the Twitter hashtag for the game and our live comment thread below will be up and rolling throughout the game as well. Go Jazz!

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