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Jazz get busy again, starting with Wizards

Published January 23, 2013 3:58 pm

NBA • Starting with Washington, Utah's schedule is about to get busy.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Jazz have played one game in the last eight nights.

They play five games in the next eight nights.

That's life in the NBA, where a team's success is often related to how it deals with such quirks in the schedule.

Fortunately for the Jazz, they have fared relatively well so far this season.

Heading into Wednesday night's game against Washington at EnergySolutions Arena, Utah has won five of its last six games.

The Jazz are seventh in the Western Conference standings, only two games behind No. 6 Denver and one game ahead of eighth-place Houston.

Utah has already played 24 road games, meaning it has only 17 remaining.

The Jazz play eight of their next 10 games at home, starting with the Wizards. Tip-off is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on Root Sports.

Washington coach Randy Wittman expects a physical battle with the Jazz, whose big-man rotation includes Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

"They have four guys who can come in and pound you on the boards," Wittman said. "That's always a concern. For us, we have to do a good job rebounding the ball and defending."

The Wizards are 9-30 this season, including a 5-13 record in games decided by six points or less.

"We've probably been in more close games than anybody in the league — and we've had a lot of people injured," Wittman said. "We've had guys who haven't been in the league very long and have never been in the position of closing out games and making plays at the end of the game. They had to learn how to do it."

The Wizards, however, are 5-2 in their last seven games. They are 4-2 since point guard John Wall returned from a season-long knee injury.

"We getting healthy," Wittman said. "We're starting to get guys back that we haven't had the first half of the season."

Said Jazz guard Randy Foye, "They are a team that's hungry."




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