Utah Jazz: Kirilenko hopes Jazz reach playoffs, but lose to T-Wolves
It's been three years since Andrei Kirilenko's last trip to the playoffs with the Utah Jazz. Although the former All-Star forward plays for Minnesota now, he'd still like to see the Jazz earn the eighth seed this year.
He'd just like them to find a way to do it that doesn't involve beating his Timberwolves, who played the Jazz Friday and will host Utah on Monday at the Target Center.
"I know the situation Jazz are in," Kirilenko said. "But we don't want to help them. We are going to try and do our best and beat Utah. But other than that, I will cheer for them to make playoffs."
The Jazz are locked in a race with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Kirilenko had plenty of battles with the Lakers while with the Jazz.
Kirilenko, whose Jazz career ended in 2011, has appeared in 61 games this year for Minnesota. Entering Friday's game at EnergySolutions Arena, he averaged 12.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game better numbers than he produced in any of his last five seasons with the Jazz.
He received a warm round of applause when he was introduced with the T-wolves' starters Friday.
"It's always fun to play here," he said.
Kirilenko finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in the Jazz's 106-84 win over Minnesota on Jan. 2.
And Memphis, too
The Jazz's playoff hopes will, of course, go through Minnesota. But they ultimately could be determined in Memphis. If the playoff chase comes down to the last day of the regular season, the Jazz will need a win over the Grizzlies, against whom they are 1-2 this season.
At least one Jazz player would love to see it.
"Most definitely," DeMarre Carroll said.
Carroll, the reserve small forward, was selected No. 27 in the 2009 draft by the Grizzlies, and spent a season and a half with the franchise.
"A lot of those guys," Carroll said, "I know a lot of them. Z-Bo [All-Star power forward Zach Randolph], he was my big vet when I was there. Tony Allen and all those guys. Hopefully we can be put in that position to make the playoffs and hopefully we don't have to wait until that last game."