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Jazz’s Next Four Opponents Have 13-27 Combined Record

Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz tip-off to start the game on October 20, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz won four straight before an unfortunate no-call with two seconds left against Memphis that would have led to three Donovan Mitchell free throws and the chance to win the game.

Fans and players had all weekend to stew over what could have – what should have been. However, the whistle didn’t blow and the buzzer sounded, leaving the Jazz with an unsavory loss to the Grizzlies in Tennessee.

Thanks to an upcoming week of games against two of the worst teams against the league in Golden State and New Orleans, and a double-dose of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah has the perfect opportunity to unload their frustration and pick up another four straight wins.

Mon: Utah vs Minnesota

The Jazz take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in back-to-back games – Monday at Vivint Smart Home Arena, where they’re 6-0, and Wednesday at Target Center.

Utah has won three straight against the Wolves, and five of the last six. Since their own three-game losing streak during the 2013-14 season, the Jazz have a 15-6 record against Minnesota.

The average score during the 2018-19 season was Utah 119, Minnesota 110.

In their last meeting, the Jazz beat Minnesota 120-100. Minnesota came to within one point during the third quarter before Utah pulled away.

Rudy Gobert and Dereck Favors both had double-doubles, with Donovan Mitchell scoring a team-high 24 points.

Monday’s game features the NBA’s sixth-best offense (Minnesota) against its second-best defense (Utah). The Timberwolves average 116.6 points per game to Utah’s 99.5 points allowed.

Minnesota small forward/shooting guard Andrew Wiggins won’t play Monday due to illness. He averages 25.9 points a game.Β The Timberwolves will also be without guards Josh Okogie (knee) and Shabazz Napier.

They will, however, have Karl-Anthony Towns, averaging 26.8 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

Watch for Blocks

Monday’s game could give the Jazz troubles around the offensive rim. Despite having one of the league’s best blockers and two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Minnesota averages 6.0 blocks per game – good enough for fifth-best.

As a team, Utah averages 3.8 blocks. Gobert may average 1.5 swats a night, but Minnesota has three different players in the league’s Top 50 blockers. In addition to Towns – and Wiggins, who will be out – they get 1.0 from Gorgui Dieng, 1.0 from Keita Bates, Diop, 0.9 from power forward Robert Covington, and another 0.7 from Jake Layman.

Watch for Steals, Turnovers

Ball control and turnovers may also become an issue for the Jazz. Minnesota averages a daunting 9.5 steals per game, and Utah already averages 16.0 turnovers a game.

With this kind of rim protection and propensity for takeaways, Utah will need sharpshooting from beyond the arc, and great shooting from Mike Conley and Joe Ingles, who both have been shooting 35 percent or less this season.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. MT on television by AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone.

Wed: Utah at Minnesota

Utah has the opportunity to put some distance between themselves and Minnesota. While early in the season, the distance between Western Conference teams is narrow. Utah sits in fourth place. Minnesota sits in eighth place, but the margin between the two is just 1.5 games.

Each win puts the Jazz in a better position with the Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets and Suns – all capable of making deep runs during the playoffs.

A loss or two could drop Utah out of the current playoff standings. Although it’s still early in the season, the margin between talented teams is narrow, and it may be difficult to regain lost ground.

The last back-to-back against Minnesota came last January. The Jazz won both games.

ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives the Jazz an 83.8 percent chance of winning Game 1 of the back-to-back, and a 62.9 percent chance of winning Game 2 at Target Center.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast at 6 p.m. MT on television by AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone.

Fri: Utah vs Golden State

Golden State has gone to the NBA Finals the last five years, winning three times. That’s more titles than games won this year. The 2018-19 Warriors are the same name only.

The NBA’s worst team this year, Golden State has a 2-12 record. Their only wins have come against New Orleans and Portland, who have a combined 9-17 record.

Through 14 games last season, Golden State had a 11-3 record. They were nearly halfway through the season before their 12th loss.

They lost key components during the off-season. They’ve lost key players to injury. Klay Thompson is unlikely to play this season after suffering a torn ACL during the finals. Stephen Curry isn’t expected to play until late in the season due to a broken hand.

Damion Lee fractured his hand during the first game with the Jazz. D’Angelo Russell sprained his thumb and will be out. Three other injured players won’t be evaluated until Wednesday, and may not play against the Jazz Friday.

The Jazz and Warriors last met last Monday. Utah won 122-108, going 15 for 27 from behind the three-point line.

Three Jazzmen had over 20 points. Gobert had 25 points with 14 rebounds and a couple blocks. Donovan Mitchell had 23 points, going 5-9 behind the arc and 4-4 from the free throw line. He also had 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Mike Conley added 22 points, going 5 for 8 on three-pointers, and hit all 5 of his free throw attempts. He added seven assists.

Another four players reached double digits in points – Bogdanovic (12), Green (12), Ingles (11), and Mudiay (11).

Draymond Green had back-to-back technicals for arguing a call with 8:28 left in the game. Then head coach Steve Kerr was called for a technical.

Golden State has lost their mojo. The frustrated Warriors haven’t been the same since their loss in the NBA Finals to Toronto. They went 12-4 in the post-season before matching up against the Raptors, who beat them four games to two.

TheΒ Jazz could be going for their 8th-straight home victory.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. MT on television by AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone.

Sat: Utah vs New Orleans

New Orleans will face Utah for the first time in the regular season. The Pelicans defeated the Jazz 128-127 in the preseason.

This season begins a new era for the Pelicans after they traded all-star forward/center Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Pelicans are currently riddled with injuries. Before their game against the Warriors on Sunday, November 17, New Orleans listed just nine players on their team injury report.

Former Jazzman Derrick Favors will make his first regular-season return to Utah in the matchup after the Jazz traded the forward to New Orleans in July. Favors spent 8.5 seasons with Utah after the Jazz traded for the forward during his rookie season with New Jersey.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. MT on television by NBATV and AT&T Sportsnet, and can be heard on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone.