(Sports Network) - The Utah Jazz are still fighting for a playoff berth in the
Western Conference and will continue their push Monday night when they visit
the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Jazz trail the Los Angeles Lakers by 1 1/2 games. After Monday's tilt with
the Wolves, both the Jazz and Lakers will have one game left. The Jazz head to
Memphis to meet the Grizzlies on Wednesday and the Lakers host the Houston
The Lakers are without Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season after the
future Hall of Famer tore his left Achilles tendon Friday night. Bryant
underwent surgery Saturday.
As much as you think the Bryant injury will help the Jazz, the Grizzlies have
something to play for on Wednesday. They can still inch up in the standings to
as high as a third seed.
But, before the Jazz can worry about Memphis, they have to get by Minnesota,
which they did on Friday night at home. Utah toppled the Wolves 107-100 for
their third win in the last four.
Against Minny, Al Jefferson was virtually unstoppable. He tallied 40 points
and 13 rebounds.
"I'm just really satisfied we gave our fans a win, a win we most definitely
needed," said Jefferson.
Friday was the Jazz' last home game of the season and could've been
Jefferson's final appearance as a member of the team. He is a free agent at
the end of the season.
"I'm not even worrying about that right now," he said. "I'm going to try and
make it least all the way to June, the end of June."
Randy Foye and Mo Williams scored 16 points apiece. Paul Millsap added 10 as
the Jazz shot 58 percent from the field.
But the Timberwolves left Salt Lake City impressed by Jefferson.
"He made a lot of shots, but yes, he is physical," Minnesota coach Rick
Adelman said of Jefferson. "Al made a lot of jump shots tonight, too. He faced
up and knocked down shots."
The Wolves had six players in double figures, led by 23 from J.J. Barea off
the bench. Ricky Rubio had 13, Chase Budinger added 12, Derrick Williams
chipped in 11 and Greg Stiemsma and Luke Ridnour managed 10 apiece.
On Saturday, the Wolves snapped a three-game losing streak with a home victory
over the Phoenix Suns, 105-93. Rubio was the pace setter this time with 24
points and 10 assists.
The Jazz have swept the season series thus far with Minnesota (3-0) and have
won four straight and six of seven from the Wolves. Minnesota has taken two of
three against Utah at home.
The Sports Network