For those who don’t remember, Anthony Edwards said Gobert “don’t put no fear in my heart” and also claimed Kristaps Porzingis is the best rim protector in the league. In perhaps the most self-exposing move ever, Edwards also said “I don’t get why we couldn’t finish on Rudy Gobert.”
Fellow Minnesota guard Patrick Beverley got in on the smack-talking by calling out the fact that Gobert wasn’t always guarding Karl-Anthony Towns, who went 7-for-11 on the night with 22 points.
“If I’m defensive player of the year, I’m always guarding the best player no matter what,” Beverley said.
Mind you, these comments were made after the Jazz plastered the T-Wolves 136-104 in their own building. If that lesson wasn’t enough to show why Gobert, and the Jazz, deserve respect, round two will provide something of a second chance.
Unfortunately for the purposes of revenge, the geniuses behind the above comments will both be missing form the floor. Beverley and Edwards, along with Jarred Vanderbilt, Taurean Prince and Josh Okogie, are in health and safety protocol.
Utah is not expected to be without the services of any of its main rotation players.
In lieu of a direct lesson to Edwards and Beverley, Utah has a chance to rebuild the momentum gained from its eight-game win streak. The Jazz snapped the two-game skid by beating the Charlotte Hornets, now is the time for another winning streak to chase the top seed in the conference.
There’s plenty of available momentum for this game on an individual basis. Gobert is coming off a dominant 23-point, 21-rebound game. It was his (league-leading) sixth 20-rebound game of the season. And Donovan Mitchell is averaging 29.1 points on 50.5 percent shooting this month. Plus, in the previous matchup, Mitchell led all scorers with 36 points, his second-highest scoring total of the season to date.
When: Dec. 23 7 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ATTSN-RM, NBCSWA