By; Jonah Sprinkel
After a trio of games against tanking teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves play the Utah Jazz tonight. The Jazz currently hold the 7 seed in the Western Conference and are possibly the last playoff team the Wolves will face during the regular season. There has been bad blood between these teams from the very beginning of the season. So much bad blood that it forced Jimmy Butler out of Twitter retirement. With playoff seeding on the line, I fully expect there to be a kerfuffle or two.
What: Wolves vs. Jazz
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When: 6 pm CT
Where to watch: Fox Sports North
Where to listen: 830 WCCO
What to watch for
Towns v Gobert: Rudy Gobert is an All-NBA defender who might take home the Defensive Player of the Year award this season. Towns is averaging 25.5 points, 13 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks with shootings splits of 53/46/83 since Jimmy Butler went down. Towns is 2-7 against Gobert in his career. With the 4 seed a possibly, Towns must continue to elevate his game if the Wolves are going to win.
Target Center atmosphere: This is the biggest regular season game the Timberwolves have hosted in over 10 years. This is the type of game where home court advantage matters tremendously. An engaged crowd could swing the outcome of this game. Target Center has not been known for its energy in a very long time. As the product on the court has changed, so must the crowd. The Wolves deserve fan support no matter how frustrating the team has been at times.
Ricky Rubio: Ever the fan favorite, Rubio returns once again to the arena he once called home. Last time he was here, things did not go so well for the Spaniard.
Rubio, who is questionable for tonight's game, will surely be looking for revenge in the form of victory. Expect a Super Saiyan version of the former floppy-haired point guard.
Minnesota: Jimmy Butler (knee) is out. Derrick Rose (ankle) is questionable.
Utah: Ricky Rubio (hamstring) is questionable. Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.
Minnesota: PG Jeff Teague, SG Andrew Wiggins, SF Nemanja Bjelica, PF Taj Gibson, C Karl-Anthony Towns
Utah: PG Ricky Rubio, SG Donovan Mitchell, SF Joe Ingles, PF Derrick Favors, C Rudy Gobert
The Wolves are tired. This is due to the many minutes played and the recent road trips. But, thanks to the roaring Target Center crowd, this squad should catch their second wind and come out on top. 103-99 Wolves.