Keep an eye on point guard matchup in Jazz-Wizards game

John Wall is young, fast and healthy again.

That’s good for the 22-year-old Washington Wizards point guard but it’s potentially a bad thing for the Utah Jazz, who’ll host the Wizards tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.

See, record-wise, the Jazz (22-19) are certainly a better team than the Wizards (9-30), who own the NBA’s worst record. However, since Wall’s return from a left knee injury that caused him to miss the first 33 games of the season, Washington is 4-2.

The Wizards are scoring, on average, 11 more points per game now than they were when Wall was sitting out.

And speaking of point guards sitting out, the Jazz still are without the services of their own fleet-footed point guard, Mo Williams. Williams continues to recover from surgery on his right thumb.

Utah will start 34-year-old Jamaal Tinsley at the point and back him up with 33-year-old Earl Watson.

Asked if his team might be able to exploit Wall’s quickness, Wizards coach Randy Wittman offered a coy response.

“We’ll find out,” he said.

Wall, on the other hand, was diplomatic in his response.

“Those guys, when they’re older they’re crafty,” he said. “You have to watch out for guys like Andre Miller. They’re more crafty. They still can play the game. You still have to respect them.”

Tinsley and Watson are indeed crafty characters who seem to know all the angles on the court. And let’s face it, at 33 and 34, they aren’t exactly using walkers out there on the court. However, in terms of foot speed, they can’t compare to Wall, who is averaging 14 points and 6.7 assists per game.

His minutes have gradually increased, but he has not yet cracked the starting lineup. He played 30 minutes vs. the L.A. Clippers on Jan. 19 and scored 24 points on 7-for-16 shooting.

“That’s all in the doctors’ hands in terms of minutes and who soon they increase,” Wittman said.

Washington will likely start fourth-year pro A.J. Price at the point, but Wall figures to see at least 25-30 minutes tonight.

Price scored eight points in 31 minutes of action when the Jazz beat the Wizards, 83-76, Nov. 17, 2012 in Washington.

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About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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