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Veteran Wizards Help Defeat the Jazz, Spurs Seek to Extend Win Streak Against the Heat

On Wednesday, the Washington Wizards (32-29) brought out their veteran players and held off the Utah Jazz (21-40) for a 104-91 victory. Washington has now won its last seven of eight games and sits in the fifth spot for the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards had as high as a 15-point advantage during the game but they never completely dominated the Jazz. They came within five early in the fourth quarter but once Trevor Ariza hit a 3-point to make it 96-85, the Wizards could let out a sigh of relief and ultimately get the win.

Trevor Ariza

Trevor Ariza

For the night, Ariza scored 26 points including four 3-pointers. Bradley Beal contributed 22 points and Marcin Gortat added 16 points with nine rebounds while John Wall had 14 points with 10 assists. But what was perhaps more interesting was the solid play by the Wizards’ 30-something players.

The trio of  Drew Gooden, Andre Miller and Al Harrington all shook off some rust and contributed to the win. Gooden, playing under a 10-day contract, had 12 points (6 of 7 from the field). Miller recorded his greatest number of assists since December and for Harrington,he had his greatest number of minutes played since November.

Washington coach Randy Wittman said of the players via the Associated Press, “We had the AARP group in there. That was doing pretty good.”

As for the Jazz, Alec Burks led in scoring with 19 points while rookie Trey Burke contributed 14 points. The Jazz have lost four straight on their six-game road tour and its 7-24 away record sits at the bottom of the Western Conference. They look to end this on Friday against the New York Knicks (22-40).

For the Wizards, they’ll have a few day’s rest before they play the lowly Milwaukee Bucks (12-48) on Saturday. Washington sits at 100/1 to win the 2014 NBA Championship and 50/1 to win the Eastern Conference.

Heat vs. Spurs

On Thursday, the Miami Heat (43-15) will take on the San Antonio Spurs (44-16) after a week that has included Le Bron James with a career-high 61 point game (and a Heat record) against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. While it was lofty to think that King James could repeat this wearing his magic mask, this held true in the team’s next game.

LeBron James

LeBron James

This came on Tuesday against the Houston Rockets (42-19) as the Heat lost 106-103, ending an eight-game win streak. It was an “off night” for James with his 22 points as he said he was “extremely tired.”

He said of the game it via the Associated Press, “I fought through it in the first half. Second half it just wasn’t there for me. Got out of rhythm.”

For this game, Miami will face tougher competition at San Antonio, who lost to the Heat 113-101 in their last meeting on Jan. 26. James didn’t exactly bring his A-game with his 18 points (8-of-15 shooting), but his fellow teammates did as Chris Bosh scored 24 points with his team shooting 58 percent.

But the Spurs didn’t fare much better as they only shot 50 percent without relying on its strong 3-point game (6 of 22). Veteran Tim Duncan scored 23 points but Tony Parker only added 11 points with seven assists.

What will be different this time around is Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter will play in this matchup after missing the first one due to injuries.

The Spurs are riding a four-game win streak and are coming off a 122-101 Tuesday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-38). This came on 24 points by Green, 23 from Duncan and 18 added by Leonard. The team, hitting 50 percent, had 12 3-pointers along with 39 assists–a season high–and 43 field goals.

As for Thursday’s game, the Spurs will hit their fifth straight win (-3, 207 o/u). Looking ahead to the postseason, they sit at 11/1 to win the 2014 NBA Championship while the Heat have 21/10 odds to do so.



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