Wolves at Jazz
8:00 pm CST
Perhaps a little bit of the reality of the long NBA season hit the Wolves this past weekend when they dropped two home games in which they really were not very competitive. Although on the whole, the season so far has been positive, we are reminded that they talent level on this roster is still not up to the standards of real contention.
Things don’t get easier tonight when the Wolves visit the 8-4 Utah Jazz, and will once again be without Andrew Wiggins, this time due to illness after a weekend spent mourning his grandmother.
The Jazz were viewed as a possible Western Conference contender after their summer acquisitions, particularly of Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, and so far things are looking pretty good. They have struggled somewhat offensively, with Conley and Joe Ingles in particular not shooting well, but their defense remains their signature, and is currently second best in the NBA.
Without Wiggins, we might expect the Wolves to struggle to score against this team. Karl-Anthony Towns is likely to get his points, but it won’t be easy up against the league’s best rim protector in Rudy Gobert. One of the things the Jazz does very well is limiting opponents getting shots at the rim. If that continues, it means the Wolves will be even more reliant on their three point shooting, which has been voluminous but not accurate.
On the other side, the Wovles have been hurt by high scoring guards several times this season, and the Jazz have one who fits the bill in Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell has been carrying the load for the Jazz scoring 25 a night from all over the floor. Josh Okogie, who is a game time decision with a sore knee that kept him out of the Rockets game, would be the guy you would most like to put on Mitchell, but if he can’t go it’s going to be a lot of Treveon Graham.
This is the first of a home-and-home against the Jazz, with the return fixture coming on Wednesday. Getting one of these against what appears to be a clearly superior team would be a good result. Tonight on the road is going to be tough, but the Wolves will look to avoid their third consecutive loss.
Our blogging buddies are over at slcdunk. Be excellent.