Utah at Minnesota

Venue: Target Center
  •  

Despite impressive individual numbers, Kevin Love won't be leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to the playoffs.

Former teammate Al Jefferson, who is doing his best to keep the Utah Jazz in the postseason race, knows all too well what Love is going through.

Coming off a record-setting night, Love and the Timberwolves will try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss to the visiting Jazz on Friday night.

Love recorded 16 points and 21 rebounds Wednesday night for his 52nd consecutive double-double as Minnesota (16-50) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 101-75 win over Indiana.

Love surpassed Moses Malone for the longest double-double run since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 in the victory - just the team's 12th during the stretch.

"In some ways I wish it would've ended. In some ways I'd like to keep it going," said Love, who almost didn't play and sat out the fourth quarter with his team in control due to a sore left knee.

"Maybe it'll die down a little bit and I can just go out there and do my job. Nothing's really changed about how I feel about the double-double streak or the situation. I just go out there and play hard."

Love is averaging 23.5 points and 17.0 rebounds in two games against the Jazz this season.

Minnesota, allowing an NBA-worst 106.9 points per game, limited the Pacers to an opponent season-low in points and shooting at 29.6 percent.

While the Timberwolves improved to 5-0 when holding teams to under 90 points, they could have trouble slowing Utah down. The Jazz are averaging 112.3 points during their four-game run in the series.

Utah (34-31), which as of Jan. 16 sat in a tie for third place in the Western Conference, lost 18 of 24 before Jefferson's tip-in as time expired gave it a 96-94 win at Toronto on Wednesday night.

Jefferson, scoring a team-high 18.7 points per game, finished with 34 and eight rebounds. He is averaging 27.9 points and 10.3 boards over his last 10 contests.

Utah is 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West.

"I've been in situations when I was with Minnesota and teams would come in fighting for a playoff spot and they called us spoilers," Jefferson told the NBA's official website. "Right now I'm on other side, I'm fighting for this playoff spot."

Jefferson averaged 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds with the Timberwolves as they went 61-185 from 2007-10.

The Jazz trailed by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter Wednesday but battled back for their second win in three games.

"It's a perfect example there that you're never out of the game, no matter how many points you get down," said Jefferson, who had 23 points and nine rebounds in a 112-107 win at Minnesota on Dec. 22.

"You've just got to keep playing, give it all you got and you never know how things will turn around for you."

Utah, which hasn't won back-to-back games since a three-game run Jan. 8-14, also defeated the Timberwolves 108-100 on Jan. 28 as Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap combined for 57 points. Jefferson was held to eight on 3-of-14 shooting.

Kirilenko (back) and Millsap (left knee) were held out against the Raptors, and it is unknown if either will be available for this game.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Utah 2 Minnesota -2
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Utah3rd Northwest 3844.463137-3Lost 1
Minnesota5th Northwest 1666.195350-10Lost 12

Related Video

CBSSports.com Shop

Men's Nike Charcoal Denver Broncos Training Camp Performance T-Shirt

NFL Training Camp Gear
Get your favorite team
Shop Now

Injuries
Utah
PlayerInjury
D ExumKnee
Minnesota
PlayerInjury
No injuries reported.
 
Key Players
Al<br>Jefferson
Al
Jefferson
, C
35.7 Min. Per Game 36.5 Kevin<br>Love
Kevin
Love
, PF
18.7 Pts. Per Game 20.8
1.6 Ast. Per Game 2.5
9.2 Reb. Per Game 15.8
50.3 Field Goal % 47.1
0 Three Point % 42.3
77.3 Free Throw % 85.2
 
Team Rankings
TeamRankPoints
Utah Jazz1289.54
Minnesota Timberwolves2965.71
 
Series Game Log
DateLocationResults
 
Other Games
LAC 98 Final
NJ 102
Bos 86 Final
Phi 89
Ind 98 Final
Tor 108
Port 92 Final
Char 97
Atl 76 Final
Chi 94
Det 94 Final
OKC 104
Sac 103 Final
SA 108
Orl 120 Final
GS 123