Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin used his eighth starting lineup in the first 43 games of the season Tuesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
With Gordon Hayward returning from a hip flexor injury but Derrick Favors sidelined with an abductor strain, Corbin started Enes Kanter, Trey Burke, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams and Hayward against Minnesota.
For Hayward, the game was his first since Jan. 7, when he scored 37 points in a 112-102 win over Oklahoma City.
The Jazz went 2-3 without their leading scorer, including a lopsided 98-72 loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday night at Target Center.
Minnesota’s Kevin Love expected Hayward’s return to help the Jazz in the rematch.
“He’s arguably their best player,” Love said before the game. “He brings a lot of firepower to their team. He gives them a different look. He does so many things well. So it’s a matchup problem for us. He really keeps our defense honest.”
Corbin called Hayward “another piece for us ... on the offensive and defensive end.”
Favors averages 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds. He missed his third game of the season. He has started the other 40.
“I’m a competitive person,” Favors said at the morning shootaround. “I’m always ready to play. At the same time, I have to listen to my body and listen to the trainers. It’s a long season.”
Asked if the Jazz’s latest injury situation that now includes Favors is frustrating, Burke said, “It’s not. Obviously, it’s unfortunate for us. But ... we have to find ways to move on without him.”
Close losses haunt Timberwolves
Minnesota, which many expected to be a playoff team this season, entered the game at 19-21, the fifth-worst record in the Western Conference.
Almost amazingly, the Timberwolves were 0-11 in games decided by four points or fewer. They are 3-14 in games decided by seven or fewer.
“We need to win those [games],” Love said. “If we were .500 in the games that were close, we’d be right there.”
Asked about Minnesota’s chances to reach the playoffs, Love said, “We’re only heading into game No. 41 tonight, so there’s time. But there’s no time like the present.”