After missing two games due to a lower back strain, Donovan Mitchell will make his return to the court for the Utah Jazz.
Just over a week ago, the Utah Jazz took on a shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves side that was missing seven players from its rotation. The Jazz only won that game by eight points with several under-the-radar Minnesota players stepping up to make it an exciting game.
That win was the second victory for the Jazz over the T-Wolves this season and Mitchell played a big role in both. He scored 36 in a blowout earlier this season and had 28 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the most recent game. In his two games against Minnesota, Mitchell has shot 55.8 percent from the floor overall and 39.1 percent from three.
Today, the T-Wolves will have a few players back, but others are now out. D’Angelo Russell, who had 19 points in the Dec. 23 matchup with the Jazz, is in health and safety protocols. Russell is joined by Karl-Anthony Towns and McKinley Wright IV.
Three players, two of them starters, are questionable, listed as “return to competition reconditioning. These three players are Anthony Edwards, Jarred Vanderbilt and Taurean Prince.
All three of the questionable players missed the previous matchup as did Towns and Wright IV.
Utah won’t be at full strength despite the return of Mitchell. Mike Conley will sit out for rest and Joe Ingles is listed as questionable. Eric Paschall and Udoka Azubuike are also out.
The Jazz will of course rely on Mitchell a lot in this game, not only as the team’s star but also in picking up the slack with Conley being out, but this is also a game that Rudy Gobert needs to be heavily involved in.
With Towns out once again, the door is open for another dominant Gobert game. Two nights, we saw the Jazz take full advantage of a smaller Portland lineup. Gobert finished the night with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Similarly, in the Dec. 23 Jazz/T-Wolves matchup, Gobert owned the paint with a 20-point, 17-rebound performance.
When: Dec. 31 7 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: ATTSN-RM, NBCSWA