Posted January 22, 2013 on AP on Fox
With 13 of their next 18 at home, the Utah Jazz have recaptured their winning ways in Salt Lake City at the right time. Prolonging that success may not be as easy as it once was against a Washington Wizards team that has started playing with some confidence lately. The Jazz will try to pick up their fifth straight home win and sixth in seven games overall on Wednesday night when they host the rejuvenated Wizards. After losing three straight at home against top-five Western Conference opponents - Memphis, Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers - the Jazz (22-19) bounced back with four straight wins to improve to 13-4 at home. Utah has been especially tough against the Wizards in Salt Lake City over the years, having won 20 of 24 meetings by an average of 15.8 points. While Washington still has the league's worst record at 9-30, it has won five of seven - including a 4-2 record since John Wall returned from a knee injury. Wall has averaged 14.0 points and 6.7 assists in his first six games despite finishing with six points on 2-of-8 shooting in a 98-95 win at Portland on Monday. Jordan Crawford hit a 30-footer as time expired to give the Wizards their second road victory in three games after losing 16 of their first 17. After splitting the first four games on this trip, Washington has a chance to claim its first winning road trip of at least five games since March 22-28, 2005. "I always like to say the basketball gods usually even everything out. We've been on the other end of this so many times this year,'' coach Randy Wittman said. "Our guys are sticking with it, learning, and making plays down the stretch when we have to.'' Crawford could play a role again, as he's scored 22.0 points per game despite shooting 3 for 17 from 3-point range in the last three against the Jazz. He led the team with 20 points and eight assists in an 83-76 loss to Utah during the team's franchise-worst 0-12 start. Wall missed that meeting, but has averaged 23.7 points on 56.8 percent shooting and 9.0 assists in his previous three games against the Jazz. The Wizards are averaging 100.7 points since Wall's return, an increase of 11.5 per game. It may be difficult to maintain that production against a Utah team that ranks among the league leaders in defensive field-goal percentage at home (42.7) and has held nine of its last 10 visitors under 100 points. Playing for the first time in five days, the Jazz won their third straight and improved to 7-2 this month with a 109-98 victory over Cleveland on Saturday. Randy Foye led the way with 20 points and hit 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, while Derrick Favors added a season-high 19 to lead Utah's 51 points off the bench. "We talked about having fresh legs and we wanted to come out and demonstrate that,'' coach Tyrone Corbin said. Al Jefferson finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds, snapping his season-best run of four straight 20-point games. It shouldn't take long for Jefferson to get another streak started. He's averaged 23.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in his last four games against the Wizards. The Jazz, who rank near the top of the NBA in scoring at home (102.1), have averaged 110.6 points in their last five against Washington in Salt Lake City.
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