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Utah Jazz vs Minnesota Timberwolves preview: Back at it for second straight night

Fresh off a tough loss to the Grizzlies, the Jazz must take on the top team in the Western Conference

Utah Jazz v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are going from one side of the strength of schedule spectrum to the complete other end in its back-to-back series. They’ll go from facing a team at the bottom of the standings, the Memphis Grizzlies, to travelling to take on the team at the top of the standings, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on the road.

And given the Jazz lost the game to the now 4-13 Grizzlies, taking down the Timberwolves and their opposite 13-4 record doesn’t seem all-to-likely.

Game Info

Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. MT

Location: Target Center (Minneapolis, MN)

TV Broadcast: KJZZ and Jazz+

Radio Broadcast: 97.5 FM

Injury Report

Utah Jazz

  • Josh Christopher - OUT (G-League)
  • Taylor Hendricks - OUT (G-League)
  • Brice Sensabaugh - OUT (G-League)
  • Kris Dunn - OUT (Personal Reasons)
  • Lauri Markkanen - OUT (Left Hamstring Strain)
  • Jordan Clarkson - QUESTIONABLE (Right Thigh Contusion)
  • Kelly Olynyk - QUESTIONABLE (Right Shoulder Strain)

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Leonard Miller - OUT (G-League)
  • Jaylen Clark - OUT (Achilles Rupture Rehab)
  • Jaden McDaniels - OUT (Right Ankle Sprain)
  • Jordan McLaughlin - OUT (Right MCL Sprain)
  • Anthony Edwards - DOUBTFUL (Right Hip Pointer)

Much like the Jazz-Grizzlies game, both sides are likely to be without star players. Utah won’t have its All-Star forward, Lauri Markkanen, along with Jordan Clarkson and maybe Kelly Olynyk. Meanwhile, Minnesota will be without one starter, Jaden McDaniels and are likely to not have rising star and leading scorer Anthony Edwards

But while the Jazz don’t have much, if any, star-power beyond Clarkson and Markkanen, the T-Wolves have plenty. Two-time All-NBA center Karl-Anthony Towns brings a dominant scoring punch to test Utah’s frontcourt defense. And of course there’s the former Jazzman, Rudy Gobert who, after a bit of a down year last season, is the current odds-on favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

This will be Gobert’s fifth game against his former team, including second this season. The Jazz are 2-2 in games against their former star player, though Gobert has had some pretty impressive stats in some of those games. He grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked four shots in his first game against the Jazz (which Utah won by six points) and later last year put up 22 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a 10-point T-Wolves win. In the game earlier this year, Gobert had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a blowout win for Minnesota.

Of course, there’s also former Jazzman Mike Conley who is set to play just his second game against Utah since being traded mid-season last year. Even in his age 36 season, Conley is still averaging double-figure points (10.3) along with 5.9 assists per game while also shooting a career-high 44.0 percent from three.

Utah will have to find big performances from players that haven’t been productive as much this season. Keyonte George will need to find a scoring punch that’s largely been absent, though improving in recent games. After scoring in double figures just three time in his first 14 games, he’s reached double-digits in scoring three times in the last four games (including making 44.4% of his 3-pointers).