Scouting Report: Wolves at Jazz
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Minnesota Timberwolves (29-49) at Utah Jazz (41-38) — 8:00 PM EnergySolutions Arena
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North Plus
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
View Timberwolves Game Notes
Got questions during tonight’s game? Send them to Wolves Radio via Twitter using the hash tag #WolvesRadio!
The Wolves will look to avoid a winless road trip with tonight’s outing against Utah, a squad that is on the cusp of a playoff berth in the West. Tipoff is set for 8:00 p.m. on 830 WCCO-AM and Fox Sports North Plus.
Utah is a game behind the No. 8 seed (Los Angeles), and it’s been doing a good job of trying to catch up. The Jazz have gone 7-2 in their last nine contests, putting their foot to the gas pedal in the season’s final stretch. They’ve got three games left, and two of them are against the Wolves.
Injuries/ailments are starting to pile up at the wrong time, however. Center Enes Kanter recently had season-ending shoulder surgery, and more a more minor scale, Marvin Williams and Alec Burks missed their last game with a stomach virus and sprained ankle, respectively. It goes without saying that the Jazz need their full rotation healthy to make a good run for the postseason.
Last Time Out: February 13, 2013
A dominating team performance in the post and clutch free throws from Randy Foye pushed Utah over Minnesota in Feb. 13’s 97-93 win.
“Once again we came back with five minutes to go and played our tails off,” coach Rick Adelman said. “We tried to get back in it but our guys just need to understand that we don't have that big of margin of error.”
With the help of a timely 7-0 run, Minnesota managed to trim the deficit to just two points in the final minute, but former Timberwolves player Randy Foye bested his old squad with four straight free throw conversions to keep a buffer.
“It’s the same thing like many previous games,” Pekovic said of the late comeback attempt. “We respond too late; we just need to have a good break and come back and try to play hard from the very beginning.”
Even with a poor night shooting as a team, some Wolves players boasted nice stat lines. Ricky Rubio was one rebound away from his first career triple-double, posting 18-points, 10 assists, nine boards and four steals. Derrick Williams had a game- and season-high 24 points along with a career-high 16 rebounds. Wednesday was Williams’ fourth double-double of the year.
Al Jefferson returned to Target Center (his home for three seasons) and tallied 20 points with 11 boards. Paul Millsap scored 21 as well.
Key Matchup: Paul Millsap and Derrick Williams
The Jazz have been leaning heavily on Millsap, as the seventh-year forward has played over 30 minutes in the last seven contests with the other forwards bouncing in and out of the lineup. He scored 21 points against the Wolves the last time these two teams meet, and he’s one of the most consistent rebounders in the league.
The Wolves started Williams on Wednesday night with Dante Cunningham’s late scratch due to a hamstring injury. He struggled from the field (shooting just 3-for-12), but he converted all six free throw attempts and finished with 13 points. With Kevin Love now confirmed to be out for the rest of the season, the Wolves will likely count on Williams in their starting lineup from here on out.
Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law
The Wolves remain intact with the 12 players they’ve had over the past three weeks with the exception of Dante Cunningham, who missed Wednesday's game with a sore right hamstring. He's questionable tonight. The Wolves know they will not have Kevin Love or Malcolm Lee and likely Brandon Roy for the rest of the season. For the Jazz, Alec Burks (ankle) and Marvin Williams (illness) are both questionable tonight against the Wolves, while Enes Kanter (shoulder) is done for the season.
|Tonight's Probable Starters|
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Mo Williams|
|SG||Luke Ridnour||Randy Foye|
|SF||Andrei Kirilenko||Gordon Hayward|
|PF||Derrick Williams||Paul Millsap|
|C||Nikola Pekovic||Al Jefferson|