TV: League Pass
- The Minnesota Timberwolves are without point guard Ricky Rubio tonight. Rubio did not travel with the team for its two-game road trip against the Utah Jazz tonight and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday so that he could stay home and rehab his sore back.
- Marvin Williams returns to Utah’s starting lineup after a one-game absence. He didn’t play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday because of inflammation in his right knee.
- Not all news is good for the Jazz tonight. Utah announced that its other Williams, Mo Williams, will miss at least the next six weeks. He will undergo surgery on his right thumb on Friday. The injury has kept him out of the last four games. Williams has started 24 games at point guard and is averaging 12.9 points and 6.7 assists per game. “It’s huge for us, especially now,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin of missing Williams at this point in the season. “It’s a big hit for us, but you know what, this is what this league’s all about. Guys get opportunities and we are where we are right now. We all understand that we have to pick it up. One of our leaders is down and we have to rally around him.”
- The Jazz will rely on Jamaal Tinsley to start and Earl Watson to come off the bench in Williams’ absence. The team has 15 players under contract, so adding another point guard isn’t all that feasible at the moment.
- Tonight is a homecoming for Minnesota’s Andrei Kirilenko, who played for the Jazz for 10 seasons. Kirilenko was mostly a fan favorite in Utah, but some Jazz followers resented him for having a max contract that he didn’t quite live up to. Still, he’ll likely get a warm reception from fans tonight. Kirilenko admitted to being a little nervous about playing in Utah for the first time in an opposing uniform. “I miss everything (about Utah),” Kirilenko said. “Ten years, I have great, great memories. Being back in this arena, it’s kind of bringing back some nostalgia.”
– Andrew Aragon