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NBA: Washington Wizards vs Utah Jazz | 23 December, 10:00 AM (PST)


Mary C
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When the Wizards visit Jazz, Kyle Kuzma returns to a place he is familiar with. The University of Utah men’s basketball team faced No. 20 TCU on the NBA floor just next to campus on Wednesday night, taking advantage of a Utah Jazz off day. When the Washington Wizards visit the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Thursday night, a few players will be present in the same venue. Kyle Kuzma, a former star for Utah, is still in charge of the Wizards and is likely having his greatest NBA campaign to date. Kuzma had a crucial role in Washington's 121-112 victory over the Jazz in Washington, D.C. who had a total of 23 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists last month.  

The 2017 All-Pac-12 first most teamer’s recent performance came on Tuesday night when he led Washington to a 113-110 victory over Phoenix with 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. The victory ended a 10-game losing run for the Wizards, who had been winning six of their previous seven games coming into their game against Utah on November 12. Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said, “That’s a huge step for us. It’s something that we can continue to build on. You give yourself a chance. We minimized some of the mistakes that jumped us and bit us the last few games." With an average of 23.1 points and 7.0 rebounds during the Wizards’ dry spell, Kuzma was one of the few bright spots.  

Sometimes you create your own luck, according to Unseld, “These guys have continued to play hard, and the streak didn’t impact their competitive spirit.” I’m glad for those players: I know they’re both relieved and delighted at the same time. Some of those hustle plays, 50-50 balls, the charge that Taj Gibson took, those are the plays that bring you out of those ruts.” Delon Wright, a former point guard for the University of Utah, may or may not join Kyle Kuzma on the floor on Thursday. After missing nearly two months due to a hamstring injury, Wright may play versus Utah, Unseld told reporter in Phoenix. 

Kristaps Porzingis’ situation is also uncertain. With Porzingis missing Tuesday’s game against the Suns due to a non-COVID ailment, Unseld stated, “I don’t think it’s anything that’s substantial. Hopefully it’s just 24, 48-hour variety.” Porzingis scorched Utah for 31 points in Washington last month. The Jazz are coming home following a two-day road trip to the East. The swing started out with two blowout losses, in which they fell by an average of 24.5 points each, in Milwaukee and Cleveland before coming to a successful conclusion with a 126-111 victory in Detroit. Lauri Markkanen just scored 38 points, tying a career best, against the Pistons. In their prior encounter, he scored 17 points against the Wizards. 

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