Scouting Report: Wolves (26-28) at Jazz (19-35) | Feb. 22, 2014

 

 

 



Timberwolves at Jazz | 8:00 PM — EnergySolutions Arena

 

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM



The Wolves started their “second half” to the season on a good note, defeating the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

There’s no time to celebrate the win, though, as the Wolves sit 5.5 games back from Dallas for the No. 8 seed in the West. There are just 28 games remaining, so every game is extremely important.

Utah is in third-to-last place in the Western Conference, but they are close to .500 at home, at 12-15. The Wolves can’t take this one for granted, especially considering the team’s upcoming schedule. The Wolves have Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver next on their road trip. If they can survive that with a winning record, they should be closer to the playoff hunt.

Last Meeting

The Wolves are 2-0 against the Jazz this season with the last win coming on Jan. 21 in Utah.

The Wolves won 98-72 behind 27 points and 13 rebounds from Nikola Pekovic. Kevin Martin added 20 points, while Kevin Love finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Alexey Shved led the bench with 10 points.

Alec Burks was the only Utah player to hit double-digits, scoring 18 points. The Jazz shot just 28.8 percent from the field.

This Week’s Results

The Wolves are coming off an impressive 104-91 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at the Target Center.

Love led the way for Minnesota, putting up a game-high 42 points and 16 rebounds. Corey Brewer and J.J. Barea had 12 each, while Ricky Rubio had a career-high 17 assists. Ronny Turiaf and Dante Cunningham had 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Wolves shot 48.2 percent from the field.

Minnesota is 2-3 in its last five games.

Utah opened up the second half of the season with a 105-99 loss to the Brooklyn Nets despite 23 points from Alec Burks and 18 more from Enes Kanter. Joe Johnson had 27 and Andray Blatche had 25 as Brooklyn shot 50 percent from the field. On Friday in Portland, Utah went toe-to-toe with the Blazers through three quarters until Portland exploded for 38 in the forth in a 102-94 win over the Jazz. Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews combined for 52 points for Portland, while Utah got 25 from Kanter, 21 from Burke and 17 from Gordon Hayward.

The Jazz are 2-3 in their last five. They won three straight to close out the first half but haven lost two straight after the All-Star Break.

What To Watch: Ricky Rubio vs. Trey Burke

Rubio’s had Burke’s number in the first two matchups this season.

In his two games against Utah, Rubio is averaging 8.5 points, 11 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and is 2-of-3 from the 3-point line.

Burke hasn’t had the same success. The rookie is averaging nine points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in two games against Minnesota and is shooting just 30 percent against the Wolves. He’s also committed five turnovers.

With Martin and Pekovic likely out, expect Rubio to get some opportunities against the former Michigan point guard. If he can capitalize, the Wolves have a good chance to come away with the win.

Injury Report

Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic (right ankle bursitis) and shooting guard Kevin Martin (fractured left thumb) are considered day-to-day. Center Ronny Turiaf (bone bruise in right knee) is out.

Utah forward Derrick Favors (sprained right hip) missed Friday’s game and is questionable for tonight’s game.

Probable Starters

 

  Timberwolves Jazz
PG Ricky Rubio Trey Burke
SG Chase Budinger Gordon Hayward
SF Corey Brewer Richard Jefferson
PF Dante Cunningham Marvin Williams
C Kevin Love Enes Kanter

 




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