The Minnesota Timberwolves own the worst record in the Western Conference.
They certainly don’t play like cellar dwellers when they face the Utah Jazz.
The Timberwolves seek to improve to 3-0 against the Jazz in 2009-10, and clinch this season series for the first time in five years, when the Northwest Division rivals meet in Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Minnesota (7-25) has won both of its meetings against Utah (17-13) this season, and has dropped 25 of 30 games against the rest of the league. A victory Wednesday would give Minnesota its first season series win in this matchup since going 3-1 versus the Jazz in 2004-05.
The Wolves are averaging 94.8 points and shooting 43.9 percent overall this season, but have scored 109.0 points per game on 52.5 percent shooting in their two victories over Utah. Sparked by Kevin Love’s(notes) 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, the Timberwolves snapped the Jazz’s season-high four-game winning streak Dec. 5 with a 108-101 victory at Target Center.
“If I knew the formula, I would have them play that way against every single team,” Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said following that contest.
Playoff contender Utah’s inability to beat a team that endured a 15-game losing streak earlier this season and is bound for the NBA draft lottery is every bit as baffling.
“How come we can’t get up for Minnesota but we can get up for everybody else?” said Jazz leading scorer and two-time All-Star Carlos Boozer(notes), who has done his part by averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two losses to the Timberwolves.
Deron Williams(notes) has also played well against Minnesota on an individual basis. Utah’s point guard has notched nine straight double-doubles versus the Wolves, including a 38-point, 13-assist effort in the Dec. 14 loss.
Right now, though, Williams may need to focus on being more careful with the ball. He’s committed four turnovers or more in each of his last five games, including four in Saturday’s 97-76 home victory over Philadelphia.
Williams helped compensate for his carelessness by scoring 27 points and hitting all four of his 3-point attempts as the Jazz - who gave the ball away 12 times in the first half and 19 times in the game - avoided a three-game losing streak.
“We have to learn how to cut the turnovers down because those things have been killing us,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
With a chance to win three straight for the first time since Jan. 23-26, Minnesota fell 117-99 at San Antonio on Tuesday.
Utah hosts the Timberwolves on March 17 in the teams’ final meeting of the season.