Tag Archives: Gordon Hayward

SLC Punk’d (The Curse of Salt Lake City Edition)

The Wolves have not won a game in Salt Lake City since 2009.

The Wolves have not won a game in Salt Lake City since 2009.

After rolling over the Utah Jazz (14-28) 98-72 at home on Saturday, the Timberwolves (19-21) are in Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz in the second game of a rare home-and-home involving the Wolves.

On Friday, everything that could’ve gone right did. They got off to a 9-0 start, and led by as many as 36 at one point. Nikola Pekovic carved up Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and any other challengers on Utah’s front line en route to 27 points and a season-high 14 rebounds in just 29 minutes; Good Kevin Martin came to play, tallying 20 points; and Kevin Love had 18 and 13, totals that would’ve been higher had the Wolves needed him to play more minutes. (He played 29.)

On the Jazz side, what was already arguably the worst team in the NBA was without its best player, Gordon Hayward, and the team had a historically-bad shooting night, going a franchise-worst 28.8 percent (21 of 73). With 18 points, Alec Burks was the lone Jazz player in double-figures. For one night at least, the Wolves quieted some of the naysayers who’ve loudly criticized their decision not to select Trey Burke with the ninth pick in last summer’s draft. Ricky Rubio clearly outclassed Burke on Saturday night, holding the rookie to 9 points–almost five below his season average–on 2-10 from the field and two assists. Burke also had three turnovers.

Tonight’s game in Utah figures to be a more difficult win for the Wolves than was Saturday’s laugher for two reasons: Gordon Hayward and the Delta Center EnergySolutions Arena.

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4 Teams, 2 Spots

The Jazz and Mavs will compete with the Wolves for a playoff spot.

Marc Stein has released his first Power Rankings of the 2012-13 season.  A quick scan down to the middle teams shows support for something that I have been thinking to be true about this Western Conference playoff landscape: There will be four teams fighting for two playoff spots.  They are the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors and, yes, our very own Minnesota Timberwolves.  If you follow Stein’s writing, you know that he loves Dallas and, like many others in the NBA media, quickly took to the Rubio-led Timberwolves of 2012.  It comes as no surprise then, that he has them ranked slightly ahead of Utah and Golden State.  Stein ranks the Wolves 14th–8th best in the West.  He has Utah and Golden State ranked 16th/9th and 17th/10th respectively.  He has Dallas ranked 10th overall, 6th in the West, ahead of Memphis, which he ranks 11th/7th.  His Dallas bias got the best of him there.  While the Mavs could surprise and do well in a Post-Jet & Chandler World, there’s no reason to expect them to finish ahead of the Grizzlies.

Why only two spots? Continue reading

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