Sometimes in sports, weird things happen. Like the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the finals after finishing with the best regular season record in NBA history, or the wildcard Giants being the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl 42, or 16-seed UMBC upsetting 1-seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. Sometimes logic and sense don’t win out in sports. For whatever reason, that is the case with the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
On paper, the three matchups against the Wolves this season should have been pieces of cake. The Jazz established themselves early as one of the best teams in the league, and have had the NBA’s best record for the majority of the season. The Wolves have been quite the opposite, near the bottom of the league for the entire year. But in the two games they’ve played so far, the Wolves have gotten the best of the Jazz. Not only did they beat them, but they did so IN SALT LAKE CITY, WHERE THE JAZZ HAVE ONLY LOST FOUR GAMES ALL SEASON, TWO OF WHICH HAVE COME AT THE HANDS OF THE TIMBERWOLVES. Excuse my excessive caps, but it just doesn’t make any sense man. The Wolves only have 7 road wins all year long, 2 of which have come against the best homecourt team in the league, lol. Anyways, the Jazz are looking to avoid a season sweep tonight in Minneapolis, and things might get weird like usual.
seems like the Jazz want to win just enough games to maintain flexibility over the 1st or 2nd seed (to avoid the Lakers as much as possible in the playoffs), but are still hedging their bets against a Lakers drop in the standings.
When: 6PM MDT
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
TV: ATT SportsNet
What to watch for
Can the Jazz win without Spida?
The Jazz will be without All-Star Donovan Mitchell for at least another week, and they haven’t looked very good without him in the lineup. Since Mitchell got injured, the Jazz are 2-2 against a skeleton squad Lakers team, and bottom-feeder Rockets and Wolves teams. Not great Bob. Who steps up to win these games without Donovan? Bojan Bogdanovic has been playing better, fresh off a 30-piece in the loss Saturday night. Conley’s been okay, but hasn’t elevated his play as much as the Jazz have needed without Donovan on the floor. Before Saturday night’s game Joe Ingles had been brilliant in the month of April. If the Jazz are going to avoid a season sweep to the Wolves, someone is going to need to step up in Donovan’s absence and get some buckets, especially in the closing moments of the game if needed.
Slowing down the rook
Anthony Edwards was a huge reason why the Jazz dropped a rare home loss on Saturday night. The rookie was just everywhere pretty much all night long, and just made plays in key moments that made the difference.
Watching this guy play though, he’s special. He’s one of those dudes that you just love to watch play basketball. His energy, his demeanor - you can tell he just has it. The Jazz need to do a much better at controlling Edwards if they are going to get this W tonight in Minny.
Watching other games around the league
We’re getting to the point of the season, where literally every game matters. Playoff position, homecourt advantage, second-round matchups, etc are all going to come down to the wire near the end of the season. There are several key games to watch tonight surrounding the Jazz’s position.
Tonight I’m rooting for...— Adam Bushman (@adam_bushman) April 26, 2021
ORL (so LAL can fall to 6)
SAS (keep NOP out of play-in)
NYK (keep PHX at 2)
LAC (keep NOP out of play-in)
DEN (keep MEM in play-in)
DAL (so LAL can fall to 6)