The Wolves (5-24) are looking to avoid their ninth straight loss in the NBA's most enthralling game tonight against the Jazz (10-21).
If there is one thing working in the Wolves favor it's that Utah is on a back-to-back after losing late last night in Los Angeles, 101-97. Minnesota also hasn't played since losing Saturday to Golden State, giving them two extra days of rest.
As much I'd love to see the Wolves get Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay or Karl-Anthony Towns - which means losing all the games they possibly can in pursuit of a top three draft pick this summer - I also want to see a win here and there for validation and positive reinforcement. I want to watch Shabazz Muhammad score 25 points in a victory instead of a double-digit point loss.
As the losses mount up the stats have a way of feeling more empty. When LaVine dishes out 14 assists it's cool to see, but the numbers don't mean a whole lot if the team gets whooped. When Troy Daniels nails four three-pointers and drops 14 points in nine minutes off the bench it's certainly inspiring, especially given the complete lack of perimeter threats on this team, but let's see that type of performance come in non-garbage time minutes.
It's time to end the streak. The young players need a win tonight and this game represents a good opportunity for them. Can you imagine how low the team morale is right now?
Five reasons to watch the game...
- Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng vs. Trey Burke. Flip Saunders won that trade! HE WON THAT TRADE. I don't believe Jazz fans could make a good argument that he didn't. Anyways, I'll be keeping my eye on how these three sophomores play. BUT TO BE CLEAR, FLIP WON THAT TRADE AND I'M GOING TO CHEER ABOUT IT. Meaningless Prediction: Bazz gets out of his recent shooting slump (16-42 in the last three games) by scoring a career-high 31 points.
- Dante Exum... the 19-year-old, once mysterious Australian prospect, and still pretty mysterious to me, plays his first career game against the Wolves tonight. I haven't seen him play much this season outside of a few highlights so I'm eager to watch him, even if he hasn't made much of an impact in his rookie season.
- 3-pointers by Troy Daniels! After his highly productive nine minutes against the Warriors, Daniels might have bought himself a few more minutes moving forward. It's no secret the Wolves don't shoot many threes and Daniels only shoots from deep. Let it rip, Troy!
- It should be a high-scoring affair. If you like watching games full of easy buckets and terrible defense this one is probably for you. Minnesota ranks 29th in defensive rating at 112.3. Utah is 27th, allowing 110.9 points per 100 possessions.
- Andrew Wiggins going up on a Tuesday. Hey look! Wiggins plays really well on Tuesday's (small sample size alert).