Featured Video from Scott Steehn
When and where: March 14, 2019, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 9:00 PM ET
The Utah Jazz will roll out the welcome carpet on Thursday when they host the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves in Western Conference NBA Action. After winning back-to-back games over the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards, the Timberwolves were trounced on the road by the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, the Jazz enjoyed a bounce-back win against the Phoenix Suns after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies.
Taj Gibson falls back down to Earth in Timberwolves loss
There’s a big difference between playing well offensively against the Knicks compared to playing against the Nuggets. The Timberwolves had to learn that lesson the hard way on Tuesday night, as they were crushed by the No. 2-ranked team in the Western Conference standings. Taj Gibson, who scored 25 points against the Knicks, was held to 2-of-5 shooting for only eight points.
It was another dagger to the Timberwolves’ hopes of climbing back into the playoff picture. On the defensive end of the floor, the Timberwolves had no answers for the Nuggets, who went a combined 60 percent shooting from the floor and a ridiculous 18-of-30 from 3-point land. They were also out-rebounded in the game and turned the ball over 15 times.
Star center Karl-Anthony Towns carried the load on a night where both Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose sat out with injuries. He finished the game with a team-high 34 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while guard Tyus Jones contributed 16 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals in the 133-107 loss.
Jazz putting the negativity behind them
The Jazz fan involved in the altercation with Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook was issued a permanent ban on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the Jazz tried to shift their focus back to matters on the court. Renewed focus was imperative considering they had lost their last two games to the Thunder and Grizzlies. The loss to the Grizzlies was especially disappointing considering they have the third-worst record in the Western Conference.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert showed up big against the Suns, snagging a double-double performance, which included 20 rebounds. Of course, star guard Donovan Mitchell was superman when he needed to be to help carry the Jazz to their 38th win of the season. The Jazz dominated the boards with Gobert’s monstrous efforts, while also finishing the game with a 46.7 field goal shooting percentage.
Gobert scored 18 points to go along with his rebounds, while Mitchell netted a team-high 26 points, five rebounds and two assists. Forward Derrick Favors also had a big night with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the 114-97 loss.
- Jazz are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games against teams with a road winning % of less than .400
- Jazz are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games
- Jazz are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against teams with a losing straight up record
- Timberwolves are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Thursday games
- Timberwolves are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games
- Timberwolves are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Timberwolves are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games against teams with a winning home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Things are typically different with the Jazz at home as opposed to being on the road. Granted, they did lose a tough game to the Thunder at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, but that loss came against the No. 4-ranked team in the league in defensive efficiency. They won’t have those issues on Thursday against the Timberwolves, who ranks among the worst teams in defensive efficiency and scoring.
Opponents are averaging 117.4 points per game against the Timberwolves on the road. Only the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Suns have a worse scoring defense statistically on the road. Gobert is also good enough to battle with Towns under the basket for second-chance shot opportunities.
The Jazz are continuing to fight for their postseason life in every game. There is no comfort that comes with sitting in the eighth spot of the Western Conference standings. They are merely only a couple games behind the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs.
Mitchell and Gobert both had solid games the last couple times these two teams met, and given the importance of this game, it’s hard to envision things going any differently in Utah. The Superman act continues for Mitchell, and Gobert gets his hands dirty on the boards to propel the Jazz to their second consecutive win.
Prediction: Utah Jazz
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 5-2 in the Jazz’s last seven overall games and 5-1 in their last six against Western Conference opponents. Wiggins is questionable for this game, and Rose could also be benched again as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, the Jazz have only averaged 102.3 points in their last three games. Give me the under in this one.