Game Preview: Eliminated from playoff contention, Wizards look ahead against Jazz

The Washington Wizards will play their third of four straight West Coast games on Friday night, knowing they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention.

A Miami Heat win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night ensured the Wizards another season locked out of the playoffs. That means the main focus of Washington’s trip to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz (9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Washington) will be for the players to show their worth as the team prepares to enter an important offseason. Meanwhile, Utah is still in a tight playoff race in the Western Conference.

Here’s everything you need to know about the game:

Wizards at Jazz
Friday, March 29, at 9 p.m. EDT
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington, MyTeams

What to watch for

  1. Minutes: With the Wizards no longer vying for a spot in the postseason, it will be interesting to see how Scott Brooks manages the minutes of his players down the stretch. NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes mentioned that Bradley Beal could see a decrease in time on the court while younger players such as Troy Brown Jr. may get some more playing time.
  2. Evaluating for the future: The Wizards now have an opportunity to use the last six games as a way to prepare for next season. As Hughes wrote, Washington can tinker with combinations and rotations of players to see which could potentially contribute in 2019-2020.
  3. Playing spoiler: Besides playing for the future, Washington can also make it a little harder for the Jazz to gain home court advantage for the playoffs. Utah is currently the five seed, but with seven games remaining they sit just two games behind the Rockets and Trail Blazers and only a half-game ahead of the Clippers. Friday’s result could greatly affect where Utah ends up in the standings.

Video you must see

Last time these teams met

Utah defeated Washington, 116-95, on March 18. A balanced attack from Utah, including 19 points from Donovan Mitchell and 14 points and 14 rebounds from Rudy Gobert, helped lead to the rout.

Stat to know

25-12: The home record for the Jazz this year. That number doesn’t bode well for a Wizards team that is just 9-29 on the road.

More Wizards News

Evaluation time: With playoff chances gone, Wizards look ahead
5 Questions: Now that playoff hopes are dashed, what questions remain?
Thomas Bryant: The bright spot in a rough season in D.C.

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