Washington Wizards vs. Utah Jazz Pick & Prediction JANUARY 25th 2024

After a rough stretch for both teams, either the visiting Utah Jazz or the Washington Wizards will snap a cold streak when they play in the nation’s capital on Thursday night.

The Wizards lost their fifth consecutive game when the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves beat them 118-107 on Wednesday night. It was Washington’s 11th defeat in 12 games.

The Jazz, meanwhile, have dropped three straight outings since reeling off six victories in a row.

Utah was blasted 153-124 at New Orleans on Tuesday as the Pelicans’ CJ McCollum went off for nine 3-pointers and 33 points. It was the second straight loss for the Jazz to open a six-game road trip.

Collin Sexton topped Utah with 22 points and seven assists, while Simone Fontecchio added 18 points.

“The reality of tonight’s game, the reality of the last three games … is we just aren’t playing hard enough,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said postgame. “I think tonight was a cumulation of us just not playing hard enough in the moment. They had 65 points in second-chance and transition. To give up 35 points in transition on a night when you only have eight turnovers is not very good.”

The Jazz’s chances was essentially ended in the third quarter when John Collins’ layup attempt was swatted away. The Pelicans went on to outscore Utah 24-8 in the final 6:32 of the third quarter to take a 24-point lead.

Likewise, the Wizards’ hopes against the Timberwolves came apart at the seams in the third quarter.

Deni Avdija poured in a season-best 24 points and sparked the Wizards to a 59-57 halftime lead. But Minnesota took advantage after Daniel Gafford committed his fifth foul in the third quarter, going on a 16-2 run and seizing momentum for good.

Washington’s Marvin Bagley III added 17 points with a season-high 15 rebounds, while Kyle Kuzma totaled 17 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in the loss.

“They’re a handful,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said of the Timberwolves. “They were very aggressive in the paint. It was the volume of points in the paint. Some of it was transition, some of it was offensive rebounds, some of it was just post-ups.”

Washington is on its fourth losing streak of at least five games this season.

The Thursday contest will conclude the Wizards’ eighth back-to-back set this season. Washington lost the second game each of the previous seven times.

Even so, Unseld is optimistic that all of his parts will come together eventually.

“I think it goes back to process,” he said. “We’re playing the right way or we’re trying to do the right thing. We have the overall disposition that’s needed, whether we make a shot or not, (you’re) going to have some nights. I think collectively we did some really positive things. Overall, offensively, it’s a pretty good night.”

The Wizards and Jazz are set to meet for the first time this season. They will face off again in Salt Lake City on March 4. The teams split their two-game series each of the previous two seasons.

–Field Level Media

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