Game Links :
Sloan Seeks 1,000th Career Win As Jazz Visit T’Wolves
Posted Dec 8 2006 12:47PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
Utah coach Jerry Sloan leads one of the NBA's highest-scoring teams. That offensive ability will be tested by one of the league's stingiest defensive clubs as the Jazz try to get Sloan his 1,000th career win.
Sloan goes for his milestone victory when Utah visits the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in the first of four meetings between the Northwest Division rivals.
The Jazz (15-4) missed the playoffs the last three seasons but have been the surprise of the league in 2006-07, jumping out to a 12-1 start. They stumbled a bit with losses in three of their next four games, but have gotten back on track with consecutive wins.
Utah is averaging 102.9 points and had its 15th 100-point game Monday in a 101-88 victory over Milwaukee. Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 30 points and 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double this season, while Mehmet Okur added 17 points and 13 boards.
Boozer also scored 30 points in Utah's last meeting with the Timberwolves, a 103-95 win April 7.
``As long as he stays in what we're doing, he's been terrific,'' said Sloan, 999-662 in his career and looking to become the fifth coach to reach 1,000 wins. ``He's still big and long and can do a lot of different things that most players that size don't have the ability to do.''
It may be a little more difficult for Boozer to do those things against Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves (8-9), who are holding opponents to 92.4 points per game and have allowed more than 100 points just three times this season.
Minnesota has recorded back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and Houston, holding both teams to 84 points. The Timberwolves limited Yao Ming to 14 points Wednesday and held the Rockets to 34.8 percent shooting in a 90-84 win.
``Defense wins, though. That's what the fans want,'' said Garnett, who had 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. ``It might not be the prettiest game. Not the alley-oops or the flashy plays, but we're winning the game and that's what's important.''
Garnett has keyed Minnesota's success, leading the team with 21.3 points and 11.9 rebounds to go along with his typically outstanding defense.
Utah leads the series with Minnesota 49-24 and took the 2005-06 series 3-1, winning the final three matchups. The Jazz, however, are trying to avoid their third straight loss on the road, where they are 5-3 this season.
Minnesota is going for its fourth win in five home games and trying to match an overall season-high three-game winning streak.
The Timberwolves may be without forward Mark Madsen, who is questionable after partially dislocating his shoulder in Wednesday's win.
Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited