Utah Jazz get a second chance at T-Wolves in Minnesota Wednesday

first_imgMINNEAPOLIS — After losing to Minnesota Monday night for their first home loss of the season, several Utah Jazz players as well as their coach were asked if it is good they are playing the T-Wolves again Wednesday night (6 p.m. Target Center).Most said it didn’t matter who they were playing. They said they just have to right their own ship after suffering their second straight loss, a 10-point setback following a one-point loss in Memphis three days earlier.“We need to continue to get better and the goal is if there’s games like tonight we have to learn from them and be better,” said coach Quin Snyder. “This team has done that, but we obviously have to play better individually and collectively. If our focus goes there, we’ll have an opportunity to win that one (Wednesday).” “We need to continue to get better and the goal is if there’s games like tonight we have to learn from them and be better.” – Utah Jazz coach Quin SnyderNot that it matters much at this point of the season, but the T-Wolves moved within a half game of the 8-5 Jazz at 8-6 in the Northwest Division standings and can pass the Jazz with a victory Wednesday. Denver leads the division at 9-3.What made the 112-102 loss even more disappointing is that Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota’s second-leading scorer at 25.9 points per game and already a frontrunner for the NBA’s Most Improved Player, missed the game with an undisclosed illness. He didn’t travel with the team and his availability for Wednesday is uncertain. But if he plays, it will be even more difficult to pick up a victory at the Target Center.Of the Jazz starters, Rudy Gobert had the best outing Monday night. The big center had 16 points and 14 rebounds as he made 5 of 8 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws.“We need to watch film and see what we can do better,” he said afterward. “There’s a lot we can do better. We have to play for each other and do those things that make us very hard to guard. We have so much talent on this team and we don’t want to waste that. We have to keep working.”One of Utah’s problems Monday night was poor shot selection as the Jazz finished at just 36.5%, their second-worst outing of the season.Donovan Mitchell, who is having a terrific season, had an abysmal shooting night, making only 5 of 24 field goals, while Bojan Bogdanovic was 7 of 17, Joe Ingles was 4 of 12, Jeff Green was 2 of 8 and Mike Conley was 6 of 14. “We started to do it individually instead of moving the ball,” Mitchell said. “I took some terrible shots. Offense is what hurt us today.”The Jazz are also being hurt by a lack of production off the bench.They were happy to get Dante Exum back Monday and his presence should help going forward, but he looked a bit rusty in getting rejected at the rim a couple of times Monday. Green and Ingles didn’t shoot well and Emmanuel Mudiay had just four points and two turnovers. The Jazz are especially hurting in the middle, where they had Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh last season. Ed Davis is out with an injury and Tony Bradley didn’t leave the bench Monday after a couple of rough outings.Snyder understands his team won’t always play well, but he’s been happy with the effort.“Tonight we didn’t play well,” he said. “You’d like to be able to learn while you’re winning. We have to get better as a team and connect better. One thing we’ve done every night is we’ve competed. We competed tonight, but we’ve got to play better.” JAZZ NOTES: Karl-Anthony Towns was the biggest problem for Utah Monday as he scored 29 points, including 7 of 14 from 3-point range and pulled down 13 rebounds. … The other starters were Jeff Teague (21 points, 11 assists), Robert Covington (15 points), Jake Layman (6) and Treveon Graham (0). Kelan Martin scored 14 points off the bench and Josh Okogie added 11. … Utah is tied for fifth in the Western Conference standings, just ahead of Minnesota. … After Wednesday’s game, the Jazz return home to play back-to-back home games against Golden State Friday and New Orleans Saturday. … The Jazz will play the T-Wolves again in Minneapolis on Dec. 11 and in Salt Lake on March 20.last_img

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