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Game Preview #45: Wolves vs. Jazz

The Timberwolves wrap up a three-game homestand while looking to extend their winning streak to three in a row against the Jazz on Monday at Target Center.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Game Info

What to Watch for

Third Meeting Against Jazz

Monday’s showdown is the third of four meetings between Minnesota and Utah this season, with the first two games resulting in each road team winning to bring the series to 1-1. The final game between the two squads will take place Feb. 8 in Utah.

As for how the two teams stack up against each other entering Monday, the Jazz and Wolves are two of the top-ranked offenses in the NBA. Utah ranks third in the NBA with 117.4 points per game while ranking tied for 13th in three-point percentage (36%) and 10th in assists (25.8). Minnesota comes in ranked 12th in points per game (114.8), third in shooting percentage (49.4%), and tied for 12th in assists (25.3).

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

On the defensive end, Minnesota is the better team compared to Utah, holding a defensive rating of 112.7 (tied for 13th in the NBA) while ranking fourth with 8.3 steals a game and tied for sixth with 5.2 blocks per contest. Utah enters with a defensive rating of 114.9, which ranks 26th in the NBA.

Health will once again be a factor for Minnesota on Monday, with Utah also dealing with its fair share of injuries. Anthony Edwards (hip), Rudy Gobert (groin) and Taurean Prince (ankle) are all questionable, while Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) and Jordan McLaughlin (calf) remain out for the Wolves. For the Jazz, Rudy Gay (back) and Lauri Markkanen (hip) are questionable with Kelly Olynyk (ankle) already ruled out.

What Happened in the First Two Games?

Minnesota and Utah met for the first time of the season back on Oct. 21 in Minneapolis, the second game of the year for the Wolves. The two teams battled for the second time of the season on Dec. 9 in Utah, setting the stage for Monday’s rematch in Minneapolis.

In the first game on Oct. 21, the Jazz edged past the Wolves in an overtime contest that resulted in Utah coming out on top 132-126 to hand Minnesota its first loss of the season. The Wolves jumped out to an early lead in that matchup before giving up the lead in the second half and later allowing Utah to pull away in the extra frame.

Edwards and Towns led the way for Minnesota, with Edwards tallying 30 points and five rebounds while Towns added 27 points and eight boards. D’Angelo Russell posted 23 points, seven assists and five rebounds while Jaylen Nowell was a spark off the bench with 18 points.

Utah, which connected on 20 threes in the win, was led by Jordan Clarkson with 29 points and six assists, Markkanen with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Olynyk with 21 points.

In the second game on Dec. 9, Minnesota bounced back with a 118-108 win on the road in Utah to even the season series at 1-1 and at the time secure the third win in four games for the Wolves. In a back-and-forth battle, the Wolves pulled away late in that game while riding a 36-29 fourth-quarter advantage to make things out of reach.

Minnesota shot well from the field in that victory, shooting 53.2% from the field with 14 threes. Russell posted a team-high 30 points while Gobert added 22 points and 13 rebounds, Kyle Anderson finished with a near triple-double of 15 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds, and Edwards pitched in with 14 points and six boards.

On the other side, Utah shot 43.3% from the field while shooting just 29.5% from deep. Former Wolf Malik Beasley led the Jazz with 23 points, with Clarkson adding 21 points and Mike Conley posting 17 points and six assists off the bench.

Keep Riding Hot Streaks From Ant and Naz

During the current two-game win streak Minnesota carries into Monday, Edwards and Naz Reid have been two key factors in the recent winning ways. With Gobert — who is questionable Monday — banged up after leaving Saturday’s game against Cleveland, that duo will be needed to step up once again against Utah.

Edwards and Reid were keys in sparking the Wolves’ comeback Saturday over Cleveland, stepping up late to help Minnesota erase the double-digit deficit to pull out a solid victory against the Cavaliers.

Over the last two games, Edwards has averaged 28.5 points, six rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals over 36.1 minutes, while Reid has contributed 15 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and one steal in 21.8 minutes.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The impact of Edwards and Reid have been felt all season long, but especially over the last two games which have resulted in victory for the Wolves. Minnesota needs to continue to ride the hot streaks of that duo when the Jazz come into Target Center on Monday.

Injury Report

Minnesota Timberwolves


  • Anthony Edwards — Left Hip Soreness
  • Rudy Gobert — Right Groin Soreness
  • Taurean Prince — Left Angle Sprain


  • Jordan McLaughlin — Left Calf Sprain
  • Karl-Anthony Towns — Right Calf Strain

Utah Jazz


  • Rudy Gay — Left Low Back Spasm
  • Lauri Markkanen — Left Hip Contusion


  • Kelly Olynyk — Left Ankle Sprain
  • Johnny Juzang — G-League Assignment