Jazz-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 17, 2012
As the Utah Jazz try to remedy their season-long road struggles, a visit with the winless Washington Wizards might be just what they need. The Jazz look to salvage a split of their four-game trip Saturday night when they visit a Wizards team trying to avoid a franchise-worst 0-8 start for the second consecutive season. Utah fell to 1-6 on the road with a 99-93 loss at Philadelphia on Friday night despite getting 22 points in 28 minutes from Paul Millsap. Millsap has done everything he can to help the team win on the road, averaging 25.3 points on 55.8 percent shooting and 9.3 rebounds on the trip. After hitting two more from beyond the arc Friday, he's already reached a career high with 10 3-pointers in 17 attempts. Al Jefferson, meanwhile, finished with 15 points and nine boards, but failed to reach double-digit rebounds for the first time in seven contests. It might not take one of the league's top rebounders (11.5 per game) long to pick up his seventh double-double of the season, though. Jefferson has one in each of his last three games against Washington, including a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds in a 114-100 home win Feb. 17. The Jazz (4-6) outscored the Wizards 70-44 in the paint in that victory, but inside issues have haunted Utah on the road this season. Tyrone Corbin's team is getting outscored by an average of 49.4-40.9 in the paint away from home, while it's outscoring opponents 46.7-34.0 in Salt Lake City. "This team has a lot of pride,'' Corbin said after the team's latest road loss. "I never question that." The Jazz's troubles scoring away from EnergySolutions Arena extend outside the paint. Aside from a 140-point outburst in a triple-overtime win at Toronto earlier this week, the Jazz have averaged just 91.7 points on 42.6 shooting in six road defeats. That's quite a contrast to how they've fared at home, where they're averaging 100.7 points in three wins. Washington (0-7), the only team without a victory, has also struggled to put up points, ranking near the bottom of the league in scoring (88.1) and field goal percentage (40.7) with John Wall and Nene out. Rookie Bradley Beal has the lowest scoring average of any team leader at 11.6, and he's scored a combined 16 points on 4 of 25 shooting in the last two games. The Wizards, however, seemed to take a step in the right direction on Wednesday night when they eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time in a 107-101 loss at Dallas. Jordan Crawford led Washington with 21 points, while Kevin Seraphin had 16 and Cartier Martin 14 in just 10 minutes. "Our record doesn't show how great of a group we are,'' said Martin, who made all four of his 3-pointers. "Everybody on this team can play. We're struggling right now, but we're going to continue to fight. We're not going to give up." While the Wizards have had a tough time replacing Wall, things got worse at the point guard spot when A.J. Price sprained his right ankle against the Mavericks. Price said he expects to play Saturday, but Washington made a move to attempt to upgrade its backcourt Thursday by waiving struggling guard Jannero Pargo and signing former Wizard Shaun Livingston. The 6-foot-7 Livingston, who was waived by Houston last month, averaged 7.1 points in 27 starts for Milwaukee last season.
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