By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards west coast trip makes its final stop in Salt Lake City tonight as they take on the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena (9:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). The Wizards are currently 2-2 on this west coast swing.
If you have not been able to stay up late to watch the Wizards on this west coast trip, you have missed some of their best basketball of the season. They have given themselves a chance to win in all four games and now have a chance to finish the road trip with a winning record with a win tonight in Utah.
The Jazz are also playing well of late, winning their last three games including a home win over the Miami Heat. They rely heavily on their post play with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap leading the way. Jefferson leads the team in both points (17.7) and rebounds (9.8) per game and has tallied 20 double-doubles this year. Millsap is a hard working power forward who is always a menace on the boards. He's averaged 2.5 offensive rebounds per game over his career and does a lot of the dirty work for the Jazz.
The best part about the Wizards recent play is that they are getting contributions from a cast of characters. In Monday's win in Portland, it was Nene and Martell Webster who led the team with 24 points apiece. In Friday's win in Denver, it was Bradley Beal who led the team with 23 points, while Kevin Seraphin had 18 and John Wall finished with 14 points and 12 assists. The team has been getting solid play from nearly the entire roster and everyone has been serving their role.
The Wizards are 5-2 in their last seven games. During this stretch, they are averaging 100.7 points per game, while holding their opponents to 95.0 points per game. They are shooting .471 from the field, while holding their opponents to .432 from the field.
The Jazz won the first game of the season series, 83-76, back on November 17th at Verizon Center.
The action kicks off at 9:00pm.
Over the first five seasons of Okafor’s career in Charlotte, he averaged a double-double every year and was close to a double-double the next two years in New Orleans. The Wizards are starting to see that Okafor on a night in, night out basis. In January he’s averaged 10.2 points and 9.9 boards per game and has double-doubles in 5/10 games in the month. *courtesy of Jacob Raim on the brand new Washington Wizards Blog
Okafor will have his hands full with one of the best offensive post players in the league tonight in Al Jefferson. Okafor will have to try and push Jefferson off the low block where he makes his living. While he a great threat offensively, Jefferson has never been known as a strong defender and this could be an area where the Wizards look to exploit. They did a good job of doing this to J.J. Hickson on Monday night, so look for Okafor, Kevin Seraphin, and Nene to try and work Jefferson inside.
In the below clip, Okafor finishes inside for the three-point play.
In this clip, Okafor sends back Kevin Durant's dunk attempt.