Patrick Beverley is back and so is Wolves basketball! Minnesota invites a Utah Jazz team to Target Center as they begin their quest to sweep them (again) this season. Let’s take a look
Final from @TargetCenterMN, Timberwolves win 105-104 to sweep the season series with the Jazz (3-0) for the first time in team history.— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) April 27, 2021
Russell led the way with a game-high 27 points, including the game-winning layup and a game-high 12 assists.
UPDATED Minnesota @Timberwolves Status Report in advance of tonight’s game vs. Utah:— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) December 8, 2021
Beverley - Left Adductor Strain
Towns - Tailbone Contusion
Nowell - Back Spasms
Russell- Right Ankle Soreness
Wright IV - G League Two-Way
Injury report:— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) December 7, 2021
QUESTIONABLE - Hassan Whiteside (left glute contusion)
OUT - Udoka Azubuike (right ankle injury)
OUT - Malik Fitts (G League - Two-Way)
OUT - Elijah Hughes (G League - On Assignment)
What To Watch For
- The return of PatBev is one that the Wolves (fans & teammates) have been hankering for. Minnesota held a 9-9 record since his injury and will look to help inch his team back closer to .500 again. He had been near a return for a few games now so hopefully he is healthy enough to play his typical 94 miles per hour pace that he normally does. I’ll be watching closely to see how he is deployed against Mike Conley Jr. and/or Donovan Mitchell tonight. He’ll certainly have his hands full. Will Lea Bolmaro continue to get minutes due to his defensive prowess, or will his mysterious leg injury keep him on the bench (He’s not on the injury report)?
- During the pre-game media availability, Coach Finch shared that he wants to Karl-Anthony Towns to pull the trigger from deep early and often. KAT has seen plenty of success against the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, and hopefully tonight continues that trend. Staying on the perimeter should also keep Towns from falling and hurting his butt (tailbone) even more.
KAT vs. Rudy tonight. Towns is averaging 5.9 3PA/gm this season. Finch says they want him shooting more.— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) December 8, 2021
"We want KAT to shoot more 3s no matter who he is playing. I mean, he's one of the best shooters in the league. So I'm fine if he takes 15 to 20 of 'em tonight."
- A frequent player comparison that Anthony Edwards received coming into the NBA was Donovan Mitchell. Both are explosive scoring guards who are built like tanks, fly like jets, and can shoot like howitzers. However, the two matched up against one another just once last season and in that game, Ant came off the bench. That one was the infamous “KAT’s Wrist Injury” game where Mitchell put up 21 points on 23 FGA while Ant scored 18 on just 12 FGA. Back to the present day, Mitchell has been trending up while Edwards has been the opposite. The battle of Ant Man vs Spida should be fun to watch.
- Believe it or not, the Minnesota Timberwolves are ranked ahead of the Utah Jazz in defensive rating this season (#8 vs #9)! However in offensive rating, these teams are miles apart. The Jazz are #1 in the league (116.2) compared to the Wolves miserable #24 rank (106.7). I’m going to be most concerned about how the Wolves last place defensive rebounding percentage will compare to the Jazz 5th place offensive rebounding percentage. Gobert anchors Utah’s glass cleaning efforts as evidenced by his league-leading 14.7 rebounds per game. With KAT ailing, Jarred Vanderbilt is going to need the help of some serious gang rebounding in order to survive a potential Jazz tip-drill clinic.
- KAT’s eyes burn with envy as Gobert continues to get national attention as the all-NBA 3rd team center. He explodes for a season-high 37 points on 8 of 12 three point attempts. He amazingly falls down on 5 of those attempts.
- Royce O’Neale is right on schedule for his MPE of the season. He explodes for 24 points as he is the guy left open all night. The comments section belabors, “Wow... I knew we should’ve signed him last year.”
- The Battle of Ricky Rubio Ex’s comes down the wire. With 20 seconds left in the game, Ant puts the Wolves up 2 with a tough and-1 on Gobert. On the last possession of the game, Mike Conley Jr. dribbles the clock down to under 10 seconds before executing a dribble handoff with Mitchell. The ghost of Ricky Rubio appears on the court and strips Conley (again) to seal the win. Minnesota squeaks by, 107-105.