Greetings. Youngblood here, in Utah, for tonight's game.
Just found out that Jazz point guard and leading scorer Deron Williams, who has an injured right wrist, will not play tonight. Earl Watson will take his place at point. Utah coach Jerry Sloan didn't know whether Paul Millsap (bruised thumb) or Raja Bell (shoulder) would play or not. Guess we'll see. But at the very least the Jazz is down one starter and two others are banged up. It appears both Bell and Millsap will be available.
But before you Wolves fans start celebrating, remember that the Wolves have struggled against beatup teams this year, a fact not lost on Wolves coach Kurt Rambis.
"We expect them to come with a tremendous amount of energy," Rambis said of the Jazz, which has lost six straight games entering tonight. "They're at home. In their locker room they probably feel this is a chance to get back on track, get a win, get the home crowd behind them. They're always tough in this building."
I believe getting off to a quick start will be big for the Wolves. Not exactly breaking news.
Meanwhile, Wolves backup Lazar Hayward will miss tonight's game because he's sick.
Thought I'd give you yet another Kevin Love tribute, this time from Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who talked at some length about Love's rebounding abilities today. "I think he's as good as you're going to see on a consistent basis," he said of Love. "Here's a guy who does his homework early, as far as preparing to rebound. He starts knocking, moving guys out of the way and getting into a position that's advantageous to him. That's what rebounding usually ends up being. If you like to go after the ball and like the challenge of trying to get it, he's got terrific preparation."
Like some other folks, Sloan likens Love's rebounding style to that of Moses Malone's. "He'd do whatever he had to do to get the inside position," Sloan said of Malone. "If he couldn't go over the guys' back, he'd go all the way around and come back in the other way. That's what rebounding is. You can't be afraid."
That's it for now. Enjoy the game and I'll get back to you afterward.