Al Jefferson has always been able to demonstrate his excellence as an offensive basketball player. But his defensive skills are starting to gain more notoriety.
Jefferson has usually put up some good numbers and did so against Minnesota with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
But he had a key third quarter steal that also broke Minnesota’s back.
Jefferson stole the ball from Luke Ridnour and drove for a lay-up with 2:45 to play in the third. His play was the best of a 23-7 run that put Utah up 81-67 and made it too tough of a hill for Minnesota to climb, although the Timberwolves did try.
Jefferson shot 9-of-18 from the floor.
For the season, his eighth, Jefferson is averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, plus 2.1 assists.
The night before the win over Minnesota, Utah won 109-94 with Jefferson scoring 23 points and getting seven rebounds. He’s had five steals his last two games.
Jefferson can steal as well as he can score. That’s what makes him among the most dangerous players in the NBA.
But it would make Al Jefferson even more dangerous if he upped his shooting percentage a few points. He’s been 20-of-40 the past two games. That’s not ideal if you’re the center if you’re shooting only 50 percent. You’re taking high percentage shots. So Jefferson needs to hit more from the inside.