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Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves 11th March 2011

Thu, Mar 10, 9:48pm by Kevin Pitstock

A four game road trip for the Utah Jazz reaches stop number three, Minnesota, Friday night as the Timberwolves play host at 8:00 pm in the Target Center. The Jazz have split their first two games on the eastern swing and head to visit a hot Minnesota club. The Timberwolves are coming off one of their best performances of the year a 101-75 win over Indiana on Wednesday night. The Jazz are favored by (line was not available)

The Utah Jazz (34-31) rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat the Toronto Raptors 96-94 Wednesday night. Al Jefferson’s lay-up at the buzzer provided the winning margin. Utah has earned only three wins in its last ten games but the Raptors win erases some of the scars from their 131-109 destruction in New York by the Knicks. Jefferson is averaging 32.3 points a game over his last three contests and has picked up his overall play since the trade of point guard, Deron Williams. He scored 34 in the win over Toronto. For the Jazz, Paul Milsap (17.5 points per game), small forwards CJ Miles and Andrei Kirilenko are key contributors. New floor general Devon Harris is scoring at 16.7 points a game plus 7.3 assists and four rebounds per game. Shooting guard Raja Bell adds 8.2 points a game.

The Minnesota Timberwolves (16-50) are rebuilding but have Love; Kevin Love to lead them. The power forward from UCLA is in the midst of a NBA record streak for double-doubles (double figures in points and rebounds) per game. He records 20.9 points per night plus hauls in 15.8 boards. He will enter Friday’s game two games shy of matching Elvin Hayes’ NBA record of 55 games with double-doubles. Minnesota’s problem has not been offense this season as the T-Wolves rank ninth but are a woeful 30th overall in defense yielding 107 points per game. The other key players for Minnesota are Michael Beasley (19.2 points per game), Luke Ridnour (11.9 points, 5.4 assists per game) and Darko Milicic (nine points, 2.2 blocks and 5.4 boards a night). The small forward duo of starter Wesley Johnson and sixth man Martell Webster combine for 19.5 points and 6.2 rebounds.

The match-up on paper looks like a blowout but the Timberwolves found defense against Indiana and seem to be sparked by Love’s streak and his night in and night out 100% hustle. Utah got crushed in New York and lucky in Toronto and the Jazz are just not as good without Williams. Upset special this week: Minnesota wins 94-90.

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