The Utah Jazz have had contrasting performances in their two matchups with the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, and they were hardly at their best in their latest visit to the Target Center.
The Jazz will try for a better effort there Saturday night while moving back in control of a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.
Utah (35-37) had one of its worst offensive performances this season in a 94-80 loss in Minnesota on Dec. 30, shooting 35.0 percent and finishing with 19 turnovers to just 15 assists. The Jazz connected at 52.6 and went 10 of 25 from 3-point range with 24 assists to 14 giveaways in a 103-90 victory over the Timberwolves (24-48) on Jan. 29.
They're now facing Minnesota twice in the next week. Their matchup with the Timberwolves on Friday is among their six home games in the final nine contests.
First, the Jazz will seek to wrap up a season-high five-game road trip with a winning record. They dropped to 2-2 on the trek with a 113-91 loss to Northwest Division-champion Oklahoma City on Thursday, allowing the Thunder to score 32 points off their 18 turnovers.
Utah is averaging 19.7 miscues in its last three games.
"We sit here and say it - we have to not turn it over," coach Quin Snyder said. "There's nothing, there's no magic potion or drill."
That loss helped keep the Jazz in a virtual tie with Dallas for the final playoff spot in the West. The Mavericks currently own the tiebreaker with a superior conference record.
The Jazz can leapfrog that idle team by earning a sixth win in eight games in Minnesota. They'll face a Timberwolves team, though, that's averaging 113.0 points on 50.6 percent shooting in its last six games.
Minnesota shot 53.1 percent while pulling out a 132-129 double-overtime win in Washington on Friday. Karl-Anthony Towns scored 27 points and Zach LaVine had 25, including a 3-pointer to force the second extra period.
"It just shows the integrity of our team, to go out there and continuously fight no matter what happens during the game," said Towns, averaging 27.3 points and shooting 59.5 percent in his last four contests.
Towns is averaging 28.5 points while connecting at 69.7 percent in his two games against Utah, his highest scoring mark against any team. He had 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting in the January meeting and LaVine had 19 while making nine of 12 shots.
Utah's Derrick Favors had 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting in that one and sat out the game at the Target Center because of back spasms.
Trey Burke had 23 points that night and is averaging 25.5 in his last four games in Minnesota. The point guard scored a team-best 17 points in 12 minutes Thursday, his first appearance in four games.
Utah's starters combined for 34 points and only Rodney Hood reached double figures with 11.
The Timberwolves are seeking to match a season-high three-game win streak, set Nov. 23-27.