Jazz-Timberwolves Preview

The injury-plagued Utah Jazz had just enough to fend off the league's worst team in their first game without Alec Burks.

With Derrick Favors' status unknown, the Jazz will seek to end a four-game road skid when they face the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Utah (13-16) was already missing a pair of starters, Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert, because of knee injuries when Burks - its top bench scorer - fractured his lower left leg Saturday in a 109-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The guard has elected to undergo surgery to try to get back sooner than the reported six-week timetable.

Favors also sat out for a second straight game because of back spasms Monday against Philadelphia. The forward is averaging a career-best 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, putting him second on the team to Gobert's 10.9.

The Jazz blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter against the two-win 76ers and needed Gordon Hayward's 3-pointer with 33.5 seconds left to take the lead for good.

"We're playing without Derrick. We're playing without Alec. We're playing without Rudy. We're playing without Dante. At some point, you've got to admire these guys' competitiveness," coach Quin Snyder said. "It wasn't a pretty game, but I'm glad we had a chance to win."

The Jazz will next face a team that's dropped four in a row for the fourth time this season.

After dropping its previous three by a combined 17.7 points, Minnesota (11-20) hung with a short-handed San Antonio team that was missing Tim Duncan on Monday. The Timberwolves led by 12 in the early going but finally succumbed to a 101-95 defeat, their 12th in 15 games.

"It's tough, but one day they're going to get it. Until they get it, we've got to continue to coach them and coach them hard, keep teaching, keep watching film and keep working on it," interim coach Sam Mitchell said. "That's what we've going to do. We've got to continue to get better."

Utah has won four of the last five meetings with the Timberwolves and the past three in Minnesota. The Jazz won by a combined 32 points in their two visits last season and claimed a 104-84 victory in the most recent March 30.

Former Timberwolves draft pick Trey Burke is averaging 24.2 points in the last five games against Minnesota. He was selected ninth overall in 2013 then shipped to Utah for Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.

Burke is averaging 26.3 points on 51.9 percent shooting in his past three games in Minnesota but is averaging a career-low 11.2 points this season while coming off the bench. He started 111 of his 146 games in his first two seasons in the league.

The Timberwolves needed overtime for their most recent win in the series, a 106-104 victory March 23.

The Jazz would tie their longest win streak in Minnesota with a fourth consecutive victory. They've pulled off that feat twice, most recently Dec. 14, 1994-March 10, 1996.


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