The Utah Jazz visit the Minnesota Timberwolves for what should be a rather redemptive game for our guys. It should be. It better be. Why? Because the Jazz lost at home to the Wolves last week Minny didn't have a lot of guys for that game (8 suited, but one didn't even participate in the lay-up line). That's going to be somewhat the case again tonight.
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (C), Gorgui Dieng (C/PF), Shabazz Muhammad (SF/SG), Gary Neal (PG)
Doubtful: Kevin Garnett (PF/C), Ricky Rubio (PG)
Questionable: Kevin Martin (SG)
Probable: Anthony Bennett (PF/SF)
Who does that leave?
- PG: Zach LaVine, Lorenzo Brown
- SG: Andrew Wiggins
- SF: Chase Budinger, Robbie Hummel
- PF: Adreian Payne
- C: Justin Hamilton
That looks a LOT like the team that the Jazz LOST to last week. And WHY did the Jazz lose last week? The obvious answer on many peoples' lips is "Trey Burke 's shot selection." I will say that I am not a fan at all with what happened to end the 4th quarter and in OT. BUT, it's pointless to look at behavior and try to understand WHY that behavior happens. In the last game someone had to step up (no Gordon Hayward in that game -- so who is the obvious candidate from historical experience of hitting game winners?), Trey felt it had to be him. Why did he think that? Probably because in the two previous games against these same Wolves this season he dropped 26/4/6 and 28/6/6 against them. (Combined 20/37 -- 54.1 FG%; 7/12 -- 58.3 3PT%) A shooter always thinks the next one is going in, so on that night where the Jazz lost I can see that Trey felt like "the next one" was going to go in, and that it was up to him to step up.Unfortunately, Zach LaVine made some crazy good shots that he normally doesn't, which were not answered by Trey. He would shoot 4/22 in that game, and 2/13 from three. If you live by confidence you will die from it as well. (Either from too much, or the complete erosion of it.)
That that apologize for his behavior, especially when the game was winnable and we all feel like Derrick Favors was open a few times? Absolutely not. Does it partially explain WHY he behaved in the way he did? I think so. BUT, perhaps a larger reason why the team lost was because they went 19/31 from the FT line, which sucks in a game where you go to OT, and lose in OT by two points. The Jazz missed 5 FTs in the 4th, and 2 in OT. (Combined: Trevor Booker missed 2, Gobert missed 2, Favors missed 3, for the record Burke went 6/6 from the FT line in the 4th and OT.)
But it's not just about offense for this Jazz team. They have to win games with defense, and in that game Zach LaVine went 5/6 from downtown, while Chase Budinger went 4/8, and Sean Kilpatrick (no longer with the team) went 3/4. Letting the other team blast you from deep isn't good at all when they are so undermanned.
Hopefully these three things will not happen tonight. Minny is on the second night of a back to back, but are playing at home. We just found out that teams can find that extra gear at home, even on the second night of a back to back -- that's what it was for us when we beat OKC.
No Alec Burks and no Derrick Favors (questionable tonight) makes this game harder. But injuries can't be an excuse at all when you're playing a skeleton crew. The missing ingredient last game was no Gordon Hayward. He should take control of this game and be ready to handle the big time plays down the stretch. Chase playing as a stretch four makes G-Time so necessary. I would love to see Quin Snyder try to match that up with Gordon or Rodney Hood there for 2-3 min stretches. Trevor Booker can't be asked to do everything. Heck, Joe Ingles played the 4 in that @ Knicks game down the stretch against Carmelo Anthony. So I know Snyder can think out of the box.
If the Jazz lose this game I am going to give myself a Greg Ostertag haircut.