[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 8, Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz; contributors: Sean Fagan and Kyle Weidie from the Verizon Center with John Converse Townsendfrom behind the T.V.]
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s eighth game of the season against the Jazz in Washington are TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20) and guest Spencer Ryan Hall (@saltcityhoops), who writes about the Jazz for the TrueHoop blog Salt City Hoops.
Wizards Starters (0-7):
A.J. Price, Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely & Emeka Okafor
The Washington Wizards are in Salt Lake City tonight. The Jazz, having lost games to New Orleans and Oklahoma City on consecutive nights, will try to avoid a third straight loss at the hands of the Wizards. Washington is looking to bounce back after a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday to stay above .500 on a five-game road West Coast road swing. For tonight’s 3-on-3, Hardwood Paroxysm’s Clint Peterson (@Clintonite33) joins TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and, yours truly, John Converse Townsend (@JohnCTownsend). Three questions, three answers starts now … Get it on!
#1) In the last 25 games in Utah, Washington is 6-19 but has won 3 out of last 7, which includes last season’s 100-95 OT victory. The Jazz are 11-5 at home while Wizards are 3-11 on the road. The Wizards had a non travel day off in Salt Lake City on Thursday and Jazz have not played since Tuesday so both teams should be well rested. Vegas has Utah favored by 10 points. Can the Wizards cover the spread or win straight up and why?
CLINT PETERSON: They sure could cover, maybe even win. The Jazz may be rested, but this is when they tend to come out rusty. On two days rest Utah is scoring only 96.3 points per game (PPG), their second-worst stat split in the category, while the Wiz are dropping nearly 101 PPG on the road this season. Throw in various matchup problems from the athletic JaVale McGee to the stretch of Rashard Lewis to the prolific Nick Young to the fact that opposing point guards have been laying waste to the Jazz’s backcourt and Washington matching their road winning record to their home one, at four, would be little surprise to the realist.
JOHN CONVERSE TOWNSEND: February hasn’t been kind to the Utah Jazz, who have dropped to .500 after losing seven of their last nine games this month, after beginning the season 12-7. It’s been the opposite story for the resurgent Wizards—too generous?—who have won three of their last six, one win short of their total for the rest of the season (four), and are looking more like a professional basketball team with each passing day. I expect the Wizards to cover the spread, but I’d have to hedge my bets before picking the road team to win in Utah.
As previously mentioned, Cedric Jackson, who signed with the Washington Wizards from the D-League on March 31st, went to Cleveland State. The Vikings are in the same conference as the Butler Bulldogs, whom they beat for the Horizon League title in 2009 to advance to the NCAA Tournament; as a 13-seed, Cleveland State won its first round game against 4-seed Wake Forest. But in that ’09 Horizon championship game, Butler’s Gordon Hayward had seven points, Matt Howard had 14 and Shelvin Mack had 18. Meanwhile, Cedric Jackson threw up 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds … and got the 57-54 win.
His opinion being qualified, I briefly chatted with Cedric about Butler and the 2010 NCAA championship before Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.