A pair of Western Conference NBA teams will meet in Minnesota on Wednesday night when the Timberwolves host the Utah Jazz. Both the Timberwolves and Jazz were playoff teams a season ago, and they are both considered playoff contenders this season. The two teams split their four games between each other a season ago.
The Minnesota Timberwolves come into this game with a 3-4 record and sit in fourth place in the Northwest Division. Minnesota had lost two straight games before beating the Los Angeles Lakers in their previous game. The Utah Jazz are off to a 4-2 start this season and sit in second place in the Northwest. The Jazz have won three straight games after starting the season 1-2. The Minnesota Timberwolves are +2.5 against the Jazz on Wednesday night.
Butler Carrying Wolves
Veteran guard Jimmy Butler has been the offensive star so far this season for Minnesota. Butler is averaging a team-high 22.5 points per game and is shooting over 50% from the field. On Monday night, Butler poured in 32 points on 5-5 shooting from the three-point line to lead the Wolves to victory over the Lakers. Point guard Jeff Teague has dished out 6.9 assists per game so far this season.
The T-Wolves have given up a whopping 117.6 points per game so far this season, which is extremely unusual for a Tom Thibodeau led team. Minnesota has allowed their opponents to shoot just under 48 percent from the field so far this season, and have given up 140 points in a game to the Dallas Mavericks. Jimmy Butler is averaging three steals per game, but he hasn’t gotten much help from his teammates on either side of the floor this season.
Jazz Defense Limiting Opponents
The Utah Jazz have a relatively young roster, but they have already bought in on the defensive side of the game. The Jazz are limiting opponents to just 106.2 points per game so far this season, which is the sixth-best average in the NBA. Center Rudy Gobert is a defensive force down low, averaging 2.7 blocks per game to anchor the Utah defense. They will try to contain Jimmy Butler in this game.
Shooting Guard Donovan Mitchell is off to a great start in his second NBA season. Mitchell is averaging 22.8 points per game and is shooting over 45 percent from the field. Point guard Ricky Rubio has dished out 7.5 assists per game to lead the team while also scoring nearly ten points per game. The Jazz are well balanced on both offense and defense this season.