Wolves vs. Jazz Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Jazz 7:00 PM - Target Center
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.

Notable Injuries:
* Kevin Love (knee) - DAY-TO-DAY

* Mehmet Okur - OUT
* Andrei Kirilenko - DAY-TO-DAY
* Ronnie Price - DAY-TO-DAY
* Paul Millsap - DAY-TO-DAY

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
A new era of Jazz basketball has officially begun without a Hall of Fame head coach gracing the sidelines and an All-Star leading the team at the point guard position. In a shocking press conference on February 11, Jerry Sloan announced his resignation after 23 seasons in Utah that included a remarkable 1,127 wins. Sloan was synonymous with the Jazz and led one of the most consistent franchises over the last decade. 13 days later, Utah made a bold move to ship arguably the best point guard in the league to New Jersey and avoid a drama filled summer as Deron Williams approaches free agency. The rebuilding effort will start with Nets arriving in the deal, featuring the 2010 No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks, and cash considerations. Since the trade, the Jazz are 3-4 and in the midst of a four-game road trip that will end in Chicago on Saturday night.

Last Time Out
Big Al Jefferson capped of a 34-point night with a game-winning tip at the buzzer to hand Utah a 96-94 road victory in Toronto. The Jazz rebounded nicely from an embarrassing 22-point loss to New York on Monday.

The Wolves snapped a three-game slide by cruising past Indiana 101-75 on Wednesday behind Kevin Love’s 52nd consecutive double-double of the season.

The Numbers Game
Minnesota played one of its best defensive games of the year against the Pacers. In the win, the Wolves held Indiana to just 29.6 percent from the floor and 17.4 percent behind the arc. Danny Granger was only shot 2-of-19 and posted a doughnut at the 3-point line.

Match-up to Watch
Wolves Frontline vs. Al Jefferson
Wolves fans are accustom to watching Big Al pump fake his way to highly productive games. The Utah supporters have not witnessed a dominant Big Al on a consistent basis until the recent trade of Williams provided an opportunity for the former Minnesota big man to elevate his play. In his last 10 outings, Jefferson is averaging 27.9 points per game and scored 30 or more in five of those games. Jefferson is playing the center spot and the Wolves duo of Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic must stay out of foul trouble while remaining cognizant of his array of pump fakes on the blocks. Watch for the more athletic Anthony Randolph to earn some minutes and utilize his lateral quickness to defend Jefferson. Love may see some time at the center position as well but the Minnesota coaching staff would like to limit the energy he would have to spend defending Big Al.

What to Look For
Love missed Thursday’s practice as he continues to recover from a left knee contusion. The Wolves double-double machine battled through the injury on Wednesday night, wearing a bulky knee brace and he complained of severe stiffness following the game. Head coach Kurt Rambis said Love is a game-time decision for the contest against Utah but the All-Star does not believe he will miss any time.

Minnesota has only lost to the Jazz by a combined 13 points in the previous two meetings and will face the team twice in a span of five days. Utah has increased its offensive output while showing a desire to snatch the final playoff spot, sitting 1 ½ games behind the Grizzlies for No. 8 in the Western Conference.
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