Regular Season Game 69
Wizards (37-31) at Jazz (45-24)
Energy Solutions Arena
Previous Results: Wizards 114, Jazz 111.
I'm suffering from insomnia, so I might as well post this now. As a reminder, there are still six series open in the Bullets Forever playoff history extravaganza, so sign up!
The Wizards end their five game road trip in Utah tonight, against a Jazz team that just clinched their first playoff berth since John Stockton and Karl Malone were still running pick-and-rolls.
We all remember last time these two teams played, but since I know you want to remember it again, here you go.
The good news is that, despite their record, the Jazz have a surprisingly pedestrian defense. We equate Jerry Sloan teams with toughness and grit, but those are the wrong words to describe this bunch. The Jazz really struggle to defend slashing guards, as they've already surrendered 50 point games to Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, and Arenas this season. Considering the way Arenas is shooting the ball recently (the Clippers game notwithstanding), we should expect that he'll have a very good game tonight.
The problem is on the other side of the ball. The Jazz are phenomenal offensively, ranking fourth in efficiency. Making matters worse is that this is not a run-and-gun offense. The Jazz pick you apart with well-timed sets, and they are successful doing so because Deron Williams is so crafty off pick and rolls. He's too good a shooter to play under, but he's too strong and too quick for most big guys to hedge. Combine him with a great finisher in Carlos Boozer and a fantastic shooter on pick and pops in Mehmet Okur, and the Wizards, who already can't guard pick and rolls, are going to have their hands full.
To win this one, Arenas will probably have to go off, and while it's entirely possible, last time, the Wizards needed every one of his 51 points. It might take a similar effort to even keep them close tonight.
Jazz blogs: Utah Jazz Blog.
Your lines for tonight:
Wizards at Jazz: Jazz by 7.
Over/Under on Big 2: 48.8 points.
This is an open game thread, so anything goes. Really. I can't think of a good joke to go here. Fill something in. I'm begging you.