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Jazz look to get back on track against Wizards

Jazz look to get back on track against Wizards



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Losing is never fun.

The Jazz are 3-7 in their last 10 games and 4-9 in their last 13. For a squad that struggled out of the gate, then gained momentum and raised expectations by picking up big wins at home during the month of January, this recent stretch of futility has become a real frustration.

In their recent back-to-back-to-back road trip, the Jazz finished with a 1-2 record, but the record wasn’t the problem, it was the way Utah played in the losses. After beating a quality Memphis Grizzlies team in the opener, the Jazz then proceeded to lose to the second- worst team in the NBA, the previously four-win New Orleans Hornets. Then the Jazz followed up the loss to the Hornets by getting blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the finale of the three-game road trip, 111-85.

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The Thunder’s 26-point margin of victory was the largest by any team against the Jazz this season.

"We won some games early, but I tried to tell everybody that we had to take that with a grain of salt," Jazz guard Raja Bell told the Deseret News after Tuesday's loss at Oklahoma City.

“We caught a lot of teams playing without their best players — a lot of teams. I hope that we didn't get too big-headed and think that we're supposed to beat every team just because we're better than them. It seems like to me that we might have done that a bit."

Bell’s words couldn’t have been more true than in Monday’s loss to the Hornets.

The Jazz lost to a Hornets' team that had lost eight straight and 23 of its previous 25 games. New Orleans was also playing without six players, several of which are key contributors.

"We should be ashamed of ourselves, I know that," Jazz center Al Jefferson told the Deseret News after the loss. "We just didn't play like we wanted tonight. There's no way in the world we should've lost to that team. But we did."

Washington Wizards guard John Wall celebrates 
after their NBA basketball game against the 
Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., 
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Wall scored 29 points 
as they beat the Blazers 124-109.(AP Photo/Don 
Ryan)
Washington Wizards guard John Wall celebrates after their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Wall scored 29 points as they beat the Blazers 124-109.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The Jazz (14-14) look to regain some of their swagger and to get back into the win column tonight at EnergySolutions Arena against the Washington Wizards (7-23).

The Wizards are coming off a 102-84 loss to the Clippers in L.A. on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Wizards showed the Blazers no love in a 124-109 Valentine’s Day victory in Portland.

Nick Young, who led all Wizards in scoring against the Blazers with 35 points, said it felt good to have success.

“It just felt good getting those 3s knocked down.” Young said to the Associated Press “We were all jelling off each other. I feel like we are turning into a good team.”

Prior to Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, the Wizards had won two straight road games.

Young leads the Wizards in scoring at 17.8 points per game, while the electrifying John Wall averages 16.7 points per game and 7.6 assists per contest.

The Jazz are 45-44 all time against the Wizards and have won four of their last five games against the Wizards at ESA. The Jazz are 11-5 at home this season.

The game takes place at 7 p.m. at EnergySolutions Arena and will be televised on Root Sports.

Jarrod is a freelance writer who writes Jazz game previews for KSL.com. You can follow Jarrod Hiatt on Twitter at @jarrodhiatt.

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