Jan 18, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke (3) dribbles the ball around Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (9) in the first half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz vs Minnesota Timberwolves : Preview

 

Utah Jazz (14-28) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (19-21)

Tip Off @ 7:00 p.m. MST

TV : Root Sports

Overview

One night after the Jazz seemed like they couldn’t miss and went on to beat up on the Detroit Pistons on the road, the Jazz came out an layed an egg against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Saturday night. The Jazz looked like they had a lid on the basket all night long, as they got rolled 98-72. The Jazz may have played terribly on Saturday night against this same team, however, the Jazz play much better at home.

The Timberwolves were on a 2 game losing streak before winning Saturday night. However, even though they snapped that streak, they still are on a 7 game losing streak on the road right now. Trying to end that streak will be no easy task as the Timberwolves have not won a game in Salt Lake City since 2009.

Key Matchup : Derrick Favors vs Nikola Pekovic

What? Nikola Pekovic? In a key matchup?

Before the other night I probably wouldn’t have put this on here, but Pek dominated Favors on Saturday night. Pekovic was getting great position underneath the basket all night long and was not able to be stopped. He ended up going for 27 points and 14 rebounds compared to Favors’ 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Favors can be a dominating presence in the paint on defense, but sometimes he disappears. Pekovic is a big body and can seemingly bully his way down low against most defenders. However, Favors should be able to hold his ground against him and take advantage, something he didn’t do on Saturday night.

Favors, like the rest of the team, plays much better at home than he has on the road. The Jazz will be needing him to step up tonight as Pekovic will surely be getting fed the ball a lot coming off a great game on Saturday.

Conclusion

I’m not too concerned about the loss on Saturday. Some nights you just can’t make anything. Saturday was just one of those nights. The Jazz play much better at home than they do on the road and I expect them to come out and take care of business tonight. Minnesota looks to me to be heading for an 8th straight road loss.

Gordon Hayward, who has been out of the lineup for 5 games with a left hip flexor injury, appears to be good to go tonight. Hayward practiced on Monday and is listed as a game-time decision for tonight’s game. I think we will see him back in the lineup and it will be interesting to see how the team plays with him back. Before getting injured, Hayward was leading the team in scoring, and was averaging 27.0 points per game over his last 3 contests.

Jazz 106, Timberwolves 100

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