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The feistier Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Utah Jazz in SLC

Tonight is the front end of a back-to-back against Karl-Anthony Towns’ T-Wolves.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing one-point loss in Memphis, the Jazz now face a back-to-back against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are currently 8th in the Western Conference, sitting at 7-6 after losing 2 straight.

This young Minnesota team will be hungry for a win, but those have been hard to come by when Rudy Gobert and Towns have faced off. In the 14 head-to-head games between KAT and Gobert, Rudy secured the win 11 times. KAT puts up good numbers, but has lost more often than not. Does that trend continue tonight?

Game Info

When: Monday, November 18th, 2019 • 7:00pm MT

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena * Salt Lake City, UT

TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain, Fox Sports Network

Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone

Injury reports

Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins - OUT (Illness)

Shabazz Napier - OUT (Hamstring)

Josh Okogie - Day-to-day (Knee)

Utah Jazz

Ed Davis - OUT (Knee)

Dante Exum - Questionable (Knee)

What to watch for

How will the Jazz respond to the bad Memphis loss?

The Jazz had a perfect opportunity to gain some ground in the brutal Western Conference, and they’ll need to right the ship quickly if they want to have home court in the second round of the playoffs. There simply isn’t much margin for error (case in point: the Spurs and Trail Blazers are both 5-8, 2 games behind 8th place).

Hopefully this guy can get the team back on track and get a kill win streak going.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Wiggins-less Wolves’ woes

Andrew Wiggins’ play has substantially improved this season, and he’s near the top of the short list for Most Improved Player a month into the season. With Wiggins sidelined the past two games (and again tonight due to illness), the Wolves have dropped two in a row, giving up 125 and 137 points against the Rockets and Wizards, respectively (yikes). This could be the perfect game for Utah to find some offensive rhythm and consistency. The fact that the Jazz don’t have to face Wiggins and his 26/5/3 stat line certainly helps their chances at a win.

Strength vs Weakness

Utah’s stifling defense, led by the back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year, holds opposing offenses to 30.5% from 3-point range (2nd best in the NBA), and allows just 42.3% from the field overall (4th best in the league). Minnesota shoots 44.3% from the field (10th worst) and a paltry 30.9% from distance. This is the kind of matchup that, at least on paper, has blowout potential.

KAT playing near MVP levels

Performing at career-best levels across the board, KAT is putting together a phenomenal season. Historically, the wins haven’t come easily for Towns, as he’s largely been a one-man show with little in the way of quality supporting cast. In this young season, that appears to have changed a bit with Wiggins’ explosion and the addition of Robert Covington in a trade last season.

The Gobert/KAT matchup will be one to watch all night long. KAT has been playing like a superstar and can stretch the floor (he’s canning a stellar 43% of his 8.5 three pointers per game). Rudy has made huge strides in his perimeter defense and is on his way to a DPOY three-peat. Unstoppable force. Immovable object.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Highlight

Game Thread Ground Rules

Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.

Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.