The Jazz will face the Timberwolves twice in the next week starting tonight. Utah has taken the first two games from the 16-win Wolves. In their first meeting in Minnesota, the Jazz had to overcome a 12-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter. They put up 41 points on the Wolves and pulled out a 112-107 victory. Al had 23 & 9 in that game while Millsap had 23 & 11. The next game is Utah was close as well but the Jazz still pulled off a 108-100 win behind Millsap's 30 points and AK's 27.
Millsap unfortunately will be out tonight. That means that Jeremy Evans will get another start. Lucky for him he'll get to go up against Kevin Love who had his 2,343rd consecutive double-double of the season. I hope he's been pounding down donuts and multiple Tours of Italy from the OG.
Kirilenko will go tonight though. I don't know how he would fare against Love either, but it would have been interesting to move him to the 4 and bring in CJ at the 3. It will be nice to have a little more depth back.
Minnesota has the highest-paced offense in the league. They're only 9th in the league in PPG though because they're not very efficient on offense scoring just 104.7 PP100. On defense, they're giving up 107 PPG and are ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency. They're a good three-point shooting team at 37% on the year. Wesley Johnson and Kevin Love will shoot the long ball the most. Johnson is solid at 35% while Love makes 42% of his shots. It's not fair that a man that can put up a 30 & 30 can have that kind of shot as well.
The Timberwolves are the team that they are. They've beaten the lesser teams and lost to everyone above them in the standings for the most part. They do have two wins over the Hornets and one over the Rockets.
The Jazz of course are desperate for wins right now. They're 8-18 over their last 26 games and those 8 wins have been over the Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Kings (2X), Nuggets (pre-trade), Pacers, and Raptors. That's not going to impress the selection committee.
Al Jefferson has been the go-to guy for the Jazz the past couple of months. He played well in Minny last time (didn't have a great game at home). I don't think he slows down tonight.
This is going to be a tough one for the Jazz. It's a bit tough to swallow, but this is where the Jazz are right now, especially with the injuries. They're going to have to be patient on offense; they should get the looks that they want. On D, they're going to have to do their best to contain Love, as much as that is possible, and not let the Wolves get hot from three.