Game 43: Minnesota Timberwolves (22-21, 10-9 on the road) @ Utah Jazz (20-22, 15-6 at home)
Is that the sound of a clock ticking, or is it a count down from a time bomb? I don't know, maybe it's the biological clock ticking for our young players waiting for their rookie deals to be up so they can leave to go to another team and actually get playing time there? All of it is conjecture right now. Tonight the Jazz will be hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves, on the second night of a back to back set for the Jazz. The T-Wolves haven't played since the 12th, so they should be a bit rested. Minnesota is a pretty good road team (understatement -- they're above .500), but we're a pretty great home team (also an understatement, we win there 75% of the time). Minnesota is above us in the current standings (the're up by 1.5 games); but both of our teams are out of the playoffs ... and will both most likely miss the playoffs.
What's going on with the Timberwolves?
Well, Minnesota is without star rookie Ricky Rubio, and Michael Beasley could still be traded between now and tonight. Beas is questionable for tonight's game anyway. Bereft of these two guys the T-Wolves play Kevin Love (Can't dip the cookie in the milk too much, right?) 39.8 mpg, Luke Ridnour 32.3 mpg, and Nikola Pekovic 26.1 mpg. Those guys combine to score a lot of points (49.6), a lot of rebounds (23.5), and enough assists (6.4) to give other teams trouble.
Minnesota, despite not having their PG, is still winning games. This team beat the Phoenix suns back on Monday, and have 9 wins in their last 15 games. They are capable of winning, and they've been on a roll of late. Aside from a 2 pt overtime loss in Denver against the Nuggets they beat the Charlotte Bobcats, Houston Rockets (road), Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers (road), Portland Trail Blazers (road), then the Clippers and Blazers both at home. They are winning game. Games our team has trouble staying in.
The Wolves are a great rebounding club (#4), they get to the line a lot (#3), and take a lot of threes (#8). That said, they still only average 98.2 ppg, and give up 97.2 ppg. They do a number of things well, but they do not dominate. It should be a good game.
What's going on with the Jazz?
My honest efforts at positivity week make writing these hard. The Jazz continue to be an up and down team, we'll lose 4 in a row and then win 4 of the next 5. We'll beat the Pistons by 15, and then lose to the Suns by 9. Earl Watson got hurt last night, and he's got a sprained left ankle. Dude isn't going to play tonight. Raja Bell is questionable as he'll be resting his adductor. That, I guess means more playing time for Jamaal Tinsley at least. So that's good.
Derrick Favors and crew had a pretty solid game. Kinda what you'd want from a #3 draft pick that's making $4m this year, and playing less than 20 mpg.
Go Jazz Go!