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Wolves @ Jazz 8:00 PM - Energy Solutions Arena
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM
*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.
* Mehmet Okur - OUT
* Andrei Kirilenko - DAY-TO-DAY
* Devin Harris - DAY-TO-DAY
* Raja Bell - DAY-TO-DAY
* Francisco Elson - DAY-TO-DAY
* Ronnie Price - DAY-TO-DAY
* Paul Millsap - DAY-TO-DAY
Just five days ago, the new-look Jazz traveled to Minneapolis and ran into a buzz saw. The Wolves took full advantage of a Utah squad searching for a new identity without All-Star point guard Deron Williams, Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Sloan, and the recently injured Paul Millsap. One night later, the Jazz fell once again to Chicago, signaling a severe drought for one of the most consistent franchises over the last six years. Behind a monster performance from Big Al Jefferson, Utah bounced back with a big win past the surging Sixers on Monday night. The Jazz are down but not out, sitting two games behind Memphis for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. After hosting Minnesota for the final time this season, Utah will hit the road for a pivotal three-game road trip against Houston, Memphis, and Oklahoma City.
Last Time Out
As previously mentioned, the Jazz captured a huge 112-107 victory on top of Philadelphia with Jefferson carrying the offensive load (30 points and 17 boards).
Minnesota’s two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Sunday night in Golden State. In a 100-77 loss, the Wolves stumbled on their first of three road games this week.
The Numbers Game
Minnesota built a substantial 31-point lead off dominating numbers in the March 11 win over Utah. The Wolves scored 122 points, shot 54.8 percent from the field, 58.8 percent behind the arc, and 80 percent at the charity stripe. Additionally, the home team sparkled at the Target Center with 29 assists and only 14 turnovers.
Match-up to Watch
CJ Miles vs. Wes Johnson
Conventional wisdom would place Jefferson vs. the Wolves frontline in this specific category. However, Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin made an interesting adjustment to his starting lineup that helped stabilize the team in first quarter against Philadelphia. Corbin placed Raja Bell on the bench and inserted Miles into the starting unit and he responded by scoring 19 points and grabbing eight boards in the victory. Miles is a long and rangy athlete that mostly played the small forward position but suited up at the shooting guard spot on Monday. On the opposite side, Wes Johnson has struggled mightily, only averaging four points per game while battling an illness suffered in Philadelphia 12 days ago. Minnesota will rely on Johnson’s size to defend Miles on the wing and the team needs the rookie to produce from the perimeter in order to open scoring opportunities for the frontline.
What to Look For
Despite a subpar outing against the Wolves (9 points) Jefferson is picking up the offensive production lost from the Williams trade. Big Al owns seven games with 30 or more points in his last 13 contests, helping a shorthanded Jazz frontcourt. Millsap remains a gametime decision for the game tonight along with Devin Harris, Gordon Hayward, Bell, Fransisco Elson, Ronnie Price, and Mehmet Okur. The combination of a severely limited Utah roster and Minnesota’s recent success against this particular team should create a highly competitive game tonight to conclude the season series.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.