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Wolves-Utah game preview

  • January 21, 2014 - 12:03 AM

8 p.m. at Utah • EnergySolutions Arena • FSN, 830-AM

Preview: The Wolves open a four-game road trip — tied for longest this season — with a rematch of Saturday’s game. Neither team has played since the Wolves blew out the Jazz 98-72 at Target Center. So the Jazz has had some time to reflect on one of its all-time worst performances. Utah has won four of its past five home games, including victories over Oklahoma City and Denver. The Wolves, 7-13 on the road overall this season, are 3-8 on the road against Western Conference teams.

Players to watch: Wolves C Nikola Pekovic made 12 of 17 shots on the way to a 27-point, 14-rebound game Saturday vs. Utah. F Kevin Love scored 18 with 13 rebounds and was a plus-35 in the game. Utah G Alec Burks (18 points) was the only Utah player in double figures Saturday; F Richard Jefferson, F Marvin Williams, C Derrick Favors and G Trey Burke were a combined 7-for-31 from the field.

Numbers: Saturday’s Wolves victory had several interesting historical notes. The Jazz shot 28.8 percent, worst in franchise history and the second worst ever by a Wolves opponent. Utah’s 23 points was the lowest-scoring first half by a Wolves opponent this season, and Utah’s 72 points was the least allowed by the Wolves this season. … Love enters this game needing three rebounds to reach the 4,000 mark for his career. If that happens, he will have reached the mark in 327 games, the same number it took Dwight Howard. Since 1985-86 only two players — Shaquille O’Neal and Dikembe Mutombo — have done it faster. Love also needs 41 points to reach 6,000 career points.

Injuries: Utah G/F Gordon Hayward (hip) is questionable.

KENT YOUNGBLOOD

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