The Utah Jazz are hoping to extend a pair of winning streaks to five Wednesday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
Utah survived with a 109-108 victory after the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit Sunday afternoon to pick up its fourth consecutive win. The Jazz are also 4-0 against Northwest Division opponents this season.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, will try to snap a three-game losing streak that dipped a winning record to two games below .500.
Donovan Mitchell’s play Sunday and throughout the Jazz’s win streak helped him earn NBA Western Conference Player of the Week honors. In three victories last week, Mitchell scored 30, 34 and 35 points, averaging 33.0 points, 5.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
This stretch marks the fifth time in Mitchell’s career that he has scored 30 or more in three consecutive games. He also has dished out at least five assists in a career-high eight straight contests.
Though the Jazz allowed a 15-0 Cavs run in the fourth quarter Sunday, Mitchell liked how the Rudy Gobert-led defense clamped down in crunch time to secure the win.
“It doesn’t matter what happens for us for 47 minutes,” Mitchell said. “That last minute, we really did a lot of things right, execution-wise. When it’s time to lock in, sometimes it’s just a matter of will more than anything else.”
That helped the Jazz begin a four-game road trip on the right note. After Wednesday night’s game, Utah continues through Philadelphia and Washington.
“That’s a really good team and they made some shots,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “It’s a really good win for us — starting the trip with an early game in the East is not easy.”
Minnesota got a big performance from Karl-Anthony Towns on Monday, but the shorthanded Timberwolves couldn’t overcome the Atlanta Hawks, losing 121-110.
Towns scored 31 points with 16 rebounds despite being bothered by a tailbone contusion that kept him out the previous game.
“Terrible,” Towns said when asked how he felt. “I wanted to come back. I knew we were down a little bit with (D’Angelo Russell also out). I didn’t want to leave Ant (Anthony Edwards) out there by himself. Kind of pushed up the process a little bit. Happy to be back. Just wished we would’ve played with a little more oomph. I think that’s what was a lacking, a little oomph.”
Minnesota was missing Russell (ankle) and Patrick Beverley (adductor) along with Towns. Russell is expected to miss Wednesday’s game, but Minnesota coach Chris Finch said Beverley was on track to return against the Jazz.
The Timberwolves could use their help. Edwards added 20 points to Towns’ big outing, but Minnesota allowed a 10-point run early in the second half after pulling within 11.
“Our urgency to contest shots was not there,” Finch said. “As the game went on, we just kept stopping short and stopping short. The ball movement, we knew it was going to be there. We knew what we were trying to do. We didn’t run shooters off the line.”
–Field Level Media