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The Jazz return to action tonight against the Timberwolves. This Downbeat will be about that.
The Timberwolves recently called up Lazar Hayward from the LA D-Fenders (worst name in the D-League) to help fill some of the empty wing spots they have with Budinger, Roy, and Howard all being out due to injury. I think a fun thing to do will be to call Lazar Hayward "Laser" as he goes of for 20 against the Jazz backcourt. (I hope this doesn't happen).
This could be a problem for the Jazz, as Hayward has recently used the help of a medium to reach out to the spirit world. I for one will be on the lookout for any strange occurrences in the game that indicate paranormal help in favor of the Timberwolves. If anyone sees anything, be sure to capture the video so we can send it off to the league offices.
In other Timberwolves personnel related moves, Ricky Rubio will not be playing as he continues his rehab from the knee injury last season. Currently he has been experiencing back pain, so the Timberwolves are being cautious.
Recently, we have started to see more come out of the situation at Power Forward, between Millsap and Favors. Most notably, the absence of Millsap on the floor during the 4th quarter at Los Angeles. Millsap seemed to bristle at this when asked about it after the game, but it seems to me, Ty made the right choice. Though defense wasn't as big as a problem as the game at The Solution, where Griffin abused Millsap, his offense was a problem. It seems logical to me that if you're not getting offense from Millsap, there is no reason not to have the added defense that Favors bring. Further, this is encouraging in that maybe Ty is making progress in simply playing the best player.
What does this have to do with tonight's game?
The Jazz frontcourt is going to have their hands full with Minnesota's big man rotation of Love, Pekovic, and to lesser extents Cunningham and Williams.
Mo Williams will not be with the team, again. According to Jodi Genessy, Mo will head to New York to have his thumb evaluated.
The Jazz's starting point guard will meet with Dr. Michelle Carlson in New York City on Wednesday to get a follow-up MRI and a second opinion on his severely sprained right thumb.
The other Williams (Marvin) will most likely play tonight. Should be an interesting matchup between him and AK at small forward, but I'm more interested in the minutes Hayward matches up against the Russian.
The other position to watch tonight will be the PG. With Mo out, we will see how Jamaal and Watson do against the Shved, Barea, Ridenour combo. Shved has gotten a lot of buzz for some really great passing, starting from his play in the Eurobasket tournament, through the Olympics, and carrying over into his first season in the NBA. By all accounts he is exciting to watch.
As a whole, it is difficult to harbor any ill will for this Timberwolves team, they have a great personality and their fans deserve some success after a brutal decade or so. Let me make this clear though, it is NOT OKAY to root for a Northwestern Division rival. NOT OKAY. Not okay.
Unfortunately, with the return of another former Jazz, we have to wait and see how the crowd will react. It is annoying beyond words that this conversation consistently comes up. It is the our collective character flaw. I'll be at the game and have decided what my response will be: mildly disinterested clap.
You see, I don't have the love/hate thing for AK, that most Jazz fans have. I remember AK being drafted, and was excited at the prospect. Then I left Utah for 6 years. There's not a lot of opportunity to follow your favorite sports team in Utah when you're floating on 525ft of tempered steel in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That 03-04 that was scrappy and you all loved? Meh. Karl joining the Lakers? As far as I'm concerned it never happened.
So, when I made my triumphant return to the Wasatch Front, I picked up in the 06-07 season. I liked AK, but was frustrated with his usage and his injuries. I defended him when he had his emotional episode in Houston. But, that's about as far as it goes.
So here's my proposal: let the AK champions cheer. Everyone else, bite your tongues, roll your eyes if necessary, but that's about all that is deserved.