The Utah Jazz (29-10) will get Thursday night’s slate started with a game against the Washington Wizards (14-25) on NBATV. The Wizards lost 121-119 to the Kings last night while the Jazz are coming off their 117-109 win over Boston on Tuesday.
Utah Jazz vs. Washington Wizards
Thursday, March 18, 2021 – 07:00 PM EDT at Capital One Arena
The Jazz are a 10-point favorite at most top sportsbooks. Utah leads the NBA with 24 double-digit wins this season. Can Russell Westbrook and the fastest-paced team in the league cook up enough points to stay close with the Jazz? Utah is 24-1 when allowing no more than 110 points this season.
Jazz: Much-Needed Win
Utah had been struggling with a 4-5 record in its last nine games going into Tuesday’s contest with Boston. The Jazz somewhat eased those concerns with a fourth-quarter comeback win, though the defense still watched Boston shoot 49% from the field. Donovan Mitchell hit a big three late to ice the game, but he still shot under 40% for the fifth game in a row, and the Jazz were only a plus-1 when he was on the court.
This will be the seventh road game for Utah since February 26 and it has been a difficult stretch so far. The Wizards are quite arguably the worst defensive team the Jazz have played in a while. Washington has only held one opponent all season under 100 points, though it does play at the fastest pace in the NBA. Still, no team allows more points per game and the Wizards have allowed their last five opponents to score at least 121 points, including the Kings last night.
The Wizards allow the fourth-highest 3P% (.387) in the league, which is good news for this Utah offense that thrives on the three-point shot more than anyone this season. The Jazz are 23-3 when shooting at least 36% from three this season.
Utah is one of the best rebounding teams as well, led by Rudy Gobert, one of three starters who has yet to miss a game this season. The Jazz have won the rebound battle in 27 out of 39 games while the Wizards have only won it 13 times in 39 games. However, Washington had its best rebounding edge (+14) of the season against Sacramento last night, but still lost the game late.
Wizards: Worst Deep Shooting Game of the Season
The Wizards had a good chance to beat the Kings on Wednesday night, but they allowed De’Aaron Fox to hit the game-winning jumper with 0.7 seconds left. Russell Westbrook, who missed a couple of dunks, threw away the inbounds pass for the team’s 15th turnover of the night.
However, one of the main reasons the Wizards lost their fifth game in a row was the terrible three-point shooting. The Wizards finished 4-of-25 (16.0%) from three, setting season lows in makes and field goal percentage. Unlike the Jazz, the Wizards do not live by the three, because it has not been successful for them as they rank 27th in 3P% (.347). But with the stars (Westbrook and Bradley Beal) shooting 1-for-8 last night, you should expect much better results on Thursday night despite the tough Utah defense, which ranks seventh in 3P% (.353).
Westbrook still had his 12th triple-double of the season despite some of the struggles late in the game. Westbrook and Beal are a high-scoring duo who can at least challenge the Jazz into a shootout.
This is a back-to-back for Washington, so check on Westbrook’s status to make sure he is active for it. All best bets are off the Wizards if Westbrook decides to sit.
The Jazz have won nine straight against Washington and there is no denying this year’s team is in a far higher class than the Wizards. With the big difference in how these teams shoot the three are rebound, this looks like a great spot for Mitchell to find his shooting touch and for Gobert to dominate the glass.
The Jazz are 5-2 ATS with a rest advantage and 15-5 ATS in non-conference games. I like Utah to cover for my NBA picks on Thursday.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.