Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves will take a two-game winning streak into a western road trip, starting Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena against the Utah Jazz.
The Wolves will visit Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver after Salt Lake City on this sojourn, an important one if Minnesota still carries postseason aspirations.
The T'Wolves are six games out of a playoff spot in the ultra-tough Western Conference.
Minny won its last game before the All-Star break, a 27-point blowout of the Denver Nuggets at the Target Center. They stayed home and picked up an impressive 13-point victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Kevin Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds in the Timberwolves' 104-91 victory. The All-Star forward was 14-of-22 from the floor, 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the foul line in the triumph.
"This is one of my favorite wins of the seasons just because they're a very good team and we did it without two key players. We fought hard," Love said, referring to the absences of Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin.
Ricky Rubio dished out 17 assists for the Wolves, who have won two straight on the heels of a four-game losing streak. Corey Brewer and J.J. Barea both had 12 points, while Ronny Turiaf chipped in 11 and Dante Cunningham added 10 off the bench.
Utah will play its next three games at home versus Minnesota, Boston and Phoenix, and has a 12-15 record in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz are coming off Friday's 102-94 loss at Portland, as Enes Kanter compiled 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in defeat. Trey Burke netted 21 points, Gordon Hayward had 17 and Alec Burks ended with 12 for the Jazz, who have dropped two in a row since winning three straight and are just 3-6 since Jan. 31.
"Portland's defensive pressure in the fourth quarter was the difference. We had a nice cushion, but their veterans took them through the fourth quarter and we didn't respond to it," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It's part of growing with a young group ... what it takes to finish games out. (The Blazers) were the aggressors tonight."
Utah had a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Blazers scored the first 10 points in the frame to take over for good at 74-73.
The Jazz were without starting power forward Derrick Favors (hip) for the second straight game and he is day-to-day. Favors is averaging 12.9 points and 9.0 rebounds this season.
The Wolves have won both of this season's battles with Utah, including one in Salt Lake City. Those wins stopped a five-game winning streak for the Jazz in the series. Minny's win at Utah in January stopped a seven-game road losing streak to the Jazz.