By: Dan Slaubaugh
Happy Wednesday, Wolves fans. The Wolves play the Jazz tonight, so it's fitting that we all take a moment to remember the unforgettable.
'Twas a fun night at Target Center. Let's hope tonight is fun as well.
The Wolves (11-20) are coming off 4 straight losses and need to start winning some basketball games if they want any chance at playing meaningful basketball in the new year. The Jazz (13-16) have won 3 of 5 and much like the Wolves, have a very exciting team that has a chance at being very good in the future.
What: Wolves - Jazz
Where: Target Center. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 7:00 pm CST
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO Radio
What to watch for:
Towns in for big night: Rudy Gobert, one of the NBA's top shot blockers, is out for tonight's game. That leaves Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, and Trey Lyles to try and defend Karl-Anthony Towns tonight. This should be a favorable matchup for Towns and it opens the curtains for Minnesota to dominate frontcourt play tonight.
Wiggins-Hayward: Gordon Hayward, a 2nd tier small forward, is a pretty tough matchup for Wiggins tonight because of his size and strength. Hayward averages 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while Wiggins is averaging 20.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Overall, both players excel on each end of the court and whoever plays superior tonight may come out with a win.
Bjelica struggles: The man needs a pick-me-up and the Wolves need to get him back on track. Bjelica hasn't scored since December 16 and has looked overwhelmed on the court. There's a good player in there, one that can really help this team when confident. It's up to the coaching staff to find that player again. The Wolves keep losing, so playing Bjelica 15+ minutes per night to (try to) get him back on track won't hurt anything. A couple of shots falling for him tonight may help.
Points: Andrew Wiggins (20.7)
Rebounds: Karl-Anthony Towns (9.4)
Assists: Ricky Rubio (8.8)
Steals: Ricky Rubio (2.3)
Blocks: Karl-Anthony Towns (1.8)
Points: Gordan Hayward (19)
Rebounds: Rudy Gobert (10.9)
Assists: Gordan Hayward (3.2)
Steals: Derrick Favors (1.5)
Blocks: Rudy Gobert (10.6)
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: Andrew Wiggins
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
PG: Raul Neto
SG: Rodney Hood
SF: Gordan Hayward
PF: Trey Lyles
C: Jeff Withey
OUT: Nikola Pekovic (achilles)
Questionable: Derrick Favors (back)
OUT: Alec Burks (leg)
OUT: Rudy Gobert (knee)
OUT: Dante Exum (knee)
Alrighty, that is all. This is a winnable game for Minnesota, and one that Minnesota simply needs. They've lost 4 straight and are on a downward spiral. Even though they lost Monday night at SA, they still played a very good game. It's just that hard to beat the Spurs, especially on their home court. If the Wolves play like they did Monday night, they should send fans home happy tonight.
My prediction: Wolves defeat Jazz 108-99. Towns finishes with 26 points, 13 rebounds.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game. Go Wolves.