UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Face Timberwolves In Home Opener

Dec 25, 2020, 1:19 PM | Updated: Dec 26, 2020, 10:41 pm
Rudy Gobert - Karl-Anthony Towns...
Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends against Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during the game on October 20, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Jazz 100-97. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are returning home for their first home game of the season. After a 120-100 blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers on the road Wednesday, the Jazz head to Vivint Arena to face the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz looked impressive against the Trail Blazers in their season-opening victory. The team knocked down 19-50 three-point attempts and got 20 points from both Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert en route to the blowout.

The Trail Blazers were held to just 100 points, including nine points from Damian Lillard who was the league’s third-leading scorer last season at 30 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves won their opener against the Detroit Pistons in their home opener before the Christmas holiday.

Minnesota erased a five-point deficit entering the fourth quarter by winning the final period 31-16. The team was led in scoring by Malik Beasley, while All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points in the opener.

After a disappointing season, the Timberwolves got a big boost by winning the NBA Draft lottery and selecting Anthony Edwards with the top overall pick. The explosive, big-bodied guard averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists during his lone season at Georgia en route to being the number one pick.

Edwards scored 15 points on 5-12 shooting in his debut.

Former Jazzman and fan-favorite Ricky Rubio returned to the franchise where he began his NBA career during the offseason. Rubio was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the blockbuster Chris Paul trade but was then rerouted to Minnesota for draft compensation.

Rubio started for the Timberwolves, bringing guard DeAngelo Rusell off the bench for the Minnesota squad. The Spanish guard had just three points and three assists in his return, but led the team in plus-minus at +17.

Key Matchup

The key matchup will be between All-Star centers Gobert and Towns. The two max contract players have competed for spots on the league’s All-NBA team over the past several seasons with Gobert earning the third-team nod last year.

Towns averaged 21.3 points and 12 rebounds against the Jazz last season, including 29 points in the Timberwolves’ lone win in the series last year in Utah.

Gobert averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds while the Jazz won the three-game series 2-1.

Under COVID-19 restrictions, the Jazz will allow 1,500 fans to attend the home opener.

The Jazz and the Timberwolves tip-off Saturday at 7 pm MT. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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