Wizards welcome Jazz to MCI Center
(Sports Network) – The Washington Wizards try to make it two straight wins
this evening when they play the middle contest of a three-game homestand
against the Utah Jazz at the MCI Center.
On Saturday, Gilbert Arenas drained a pair of free throws with three seconds
left and finished with 31 points and seven assists, as Washington defeated
Antawn Jamison had 24 points and eight rebounds while Caron Butler added 20
points for the Wizards, who put an end to a four-game losing streak, despite
allowing an opponent to go for at least 100 points for the eighth time in
their last nine games.
On the injury front guard/forward Jared Jeffries missed Saturday night’s win
with a scratched left eye, but could be back in the lineup tonight.
The Wizards, who will close this stand against Atlanta on Wednesday, have
dropped three of four at home and are 8-7 in their arena this season.
Utah, meanwhile, comes into tonight’s tilt as one of hottest teams in the
league. On Saturday, Andrei Kirilenko equaled a season-high with 24 points,
pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out seven assists, as the Jazz earned a
season sweep of the Detroit Pistons with a 94-90 overtime win at the Palace of
Former Piston Mehmet Okur added 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Jazz, who
have won six of their last seven overall. Deron Williams finished with 14
points and Matt Harpring scored 12 in the win.
Utah, which will go over .500 for the first time since early in the season
with a win tonight, has flourished since the return of Kirilenko, who missed
10 games with a sprained ankle and back spasms.
Kirilenko, who is tied for the league lead in blocks per game (3.25), is also
averaging 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists. With him in the starting
lineup, the Jazz are 13-5 and just 4-12 with him either out with injury or
coming off the bench.
Utah, which will close a four-game road trip in Philadelphia on Wednesday, is
9-9 away from home this season.
Washington won both matchups with the Jazz last season and could hold the
advantage tonight, as the home team in this series has won six of the last
seven meetings. Utah, though, has won 17 of its past 24 overall with the Wiz.