Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ losing skid has reached three, and things aren’t about to get any easier as the streaking Utah Jazz come to town.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

We’re nearly two months into the season, and the Wolves have yet to face three of their divisional rivals in the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Balzers, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

That’s all about to change, as the Wolves play host to the Jazz on Wednesday night and will be in Portland on Sunday to take on the Blazers. (Minnesota won’t have the good fortune of facing Oklahoma City until Jan. 5.)

The Jazz have won four straight and are 16-7 on the season, sitting comfortably in the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference. They’re largely healthy and boast the league’s best offensive rating.

The Wolves, on the other hand, have lost three in a row and come into Wednesday’s tilt bruised and battered, with Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Patrick Beverley all listed as questionable due to a variety of ailments.

This will be a difficult challenge for the Wolves, but it’s important to remember that the Wolves went 3-0 against a Utah team that finished 52-20 last season. Donovan Mitchell missed two of those losses, however, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley played in all three contests.

Minnesota Timberwolves odds vs. Utah Jazz

The Jazz are favored by 7.5 points over the Wolves, according to WynnBet. The line is perhaps a couple points higher than expected but is no doubt impacted by the question marks surrounding the availability of Towns, Beverley, and Russell.

TV and streaming info for Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz

What to watch for in Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz

The Wolves beat the Jazz all three times the two teams squared off last season — impressive, considering the Jazz went 52-20 and claimed the top seed in the Western Conference.

While Mitchell missed two of the games, Gobert, Conley, and the rest of the rotation were all available.

The Wolves were able to spread the floor by keeping Towns on the perimeter, pulling Gobert out of the paint and mitigating his effectiveness defensively. This season, we’ve seen opposing defense largely guard Towns with power forwards, doubling him on virtually any catch inside the arc.

It wouldn’t be a major surprise to see the Jazz deploy a similar strategy, although sticking Gobert on the likes of Jarred Vanderbilt would not be the most efficient use of one of the league’s best defenders.

The Jazz shoot the most 3-pointers per game of any team in the league, and the Wolves attempt the second-most. The biggest difference, of course, is that Utah makes 36.9 percent of their long-range tries — the sixth-best mark in the league. The Wolves rank No. 23 at 33.4 percent.

Utah is also a top-10 rebounding team on both ends of the floor, which will pose a major challenge to the Wolves, who are largely allergic to defensive rebounding.

If the Wolves can rebound the ball effectively and slow down Mitchell — which is obviously easier said than done — and keep Jordan Clarkson from getting hot off the bench, they’ll have a shot to be in this game down the stretch.

Injury report for Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Utah Jazz

The Wolves have four players listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game: Towns, Russell, Beverley, and Jaylen Nowell.

Towns is the only one who played last time out after missing last Friday’s game in Brooklyn. Russell missed Monday’s game due to ankle soreness in the same ankle that caused him to miss time earlier this year.

Beverley hasn’t played in a couple of weeks, and Nowell has been out the past couple of games with the back issue. If Beverley and Russell were to both miss another game, it would be helpful to have Nowell active to fill a bench creator/scorer role.

Next. Wolves Power Rankings Round-Up, Week Seven. dark

We’ll be back after the game with key takeaways. Enjoy it, and here’s to 12-13!