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Jazz Notes: Rare back-to-back game with T-Wolves gives team small taste of NBA Playoffs

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45), Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) and Utah Jazz guard Kyle Korver (26) look on as the Jazz lead crumbled in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. The Jazz won 106-103. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz believe it got a small taste of the NBA Playoffs in a rare home-and-home series in the regular season against the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday and Sunday.

The team was not a big fan of the scheduling either. They say it’s very difficult to beat a good team twice in a row in games so close together.

“One team may win, and the second game in the series — it may be lopsided the first game — and then it goes the other way,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “The biggest thing is who you are playing. You play a team like Minnesota, who is really good, it’s harder.”

The players looked at it as a learning experience though, despite the challenges.

“That is what the playoffs are,” said Kyle Korver who finished with 13 points including two fourth-quarter 3-pointers in the win. “So it’s a good test. It’s usually hard in the regular season to beat a team twice in a row.”

In a seven game series in the NBA Playoffs, teams adjust to what made you successful in the first game and counter it in the next. This can make back-to-back games like that so different. In the first contest the Jazz coasted in the first three quarters and survived a furious rally from Minnesota to hold on for a 106-102 win. Sunday’s contest was close through out before the Jazz pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 125-111.

“There is always a psychological component to certain situations and certain games,” Snyder said. “If you do something well, the team will adjust. But there are a lot of factors.”

The Jazz had a very difficult schedule towards the beginning of the season. It had to travel a lot in November, but another aspect that made it so tough is the Jazz had to play so many teams so close together. For example, in the first month of season the organization had to play Memphis, Sacramento, and Dallas three times. It also played the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers two times about a week apart from each contest with those respective teams.

“It’s the NBA, and it’s one game at a time,” Rudy Gobert said. “But the momentum is always different. It’s like a playoff series, but a short playoff series.”

The Jazz get a couple of days off before its next game. It will take on the Portland Trailblazers at 8:30 P.M. on ESPN. With a win the team can clinch the tie-breaker over the Blazers.

Ricky Rubio stars in another Vivint commercial with Royce O’Neale

The scene starts with the Jazz point guard filming himself singing in some beach scenery. Royce O’Neale comes to pay his teammate a visit and Rubio quickly changes his home decor to a mini-gym.