Let that sink in. It’s been exactly four months. That, too, was a win over the Utah Jazz, who still hold the NBA’s best record and have for virtually the entire season.
The Wolves, of course, had a healthy Karl-Anthony Town and D’Angelo Russell for all three of their victories against Utah, including Saturday night’s road win and Monday’s victory at Target Center.
In this one, Minnesota once again got off to a slow start, committing six turnovers in the first quarter alone and falling behind by a 33-17 margin. The Jazz expanded their lead to as many as 18 before the Wolves began to push back.
At the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, Wolves starters only had five points: three from Josh Okogie and two from Jaden McDaniels. But Town came to life, and along with a piping hot Russell at the end of the second quarter, the Wolves managed to take a two-point lead into halftime.
The third quarter was mostly more of the same, with Russell and Towns doing most of the damage for the Wolves as they built a 13-point lead prior to the final frame.
Down the stretch, however, the Jazz pushed back and tied the game with just under three minutes left to play. But Russell drained a stepback 3-pointer and after a Joe Ingles miss on the other end, he navigated the pick-and-roll and hit a cutting Anthony Edwards for a tough bucket in the paint, stretching the Wolves’ lead back to five points.
Ingles split a pair of free throws on the other end, and after empty possessions for both teams, Rudy Gobert threw down a dunk to get Utah within two with 18.9 seconds on the clock. Towns only made one of two free throws, pushing the lead back to three.
The Wolves opted to foul, and Conley made the first free throw. He missed the second, but Gobert tipped the rebound off of Naz Reid, who was standing out of bounds. On a baseline-out-of-bounds play, Mike Conley drained a tough step-back three over Ricky Rubio, giving the Jazz a one-point lead.
After a timeout, the Wolves tried to get the ball to Towns on the perimeter, but the Jazz sent everyone to KAT and Gobert allowed Russell to slip free for the go-ahead layup.
The Jazz called timeout and got the ball into Conley, but Rubio tipped the ball away and McDaniels secured it and flung it down court to seal the win.
Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades vs. Utah Jazz
Other Notable Minnesota Timberwolves Players
Jordan McLaughlin played 12 minutes and didn’t attempt a shot, but he did dish out four assists and grab a rebound.
Jarred Vanderbilt played 10 scoreless minutes and while he brought plenty of energy and defensive effort, he struggled mightily on offense, committing three turnovers and making multiple sloppy mistakes.
Next up for the Minnesota Timberwolves
The Wolves head right back out on the road after a one-game home stint to take on the cellar-dwelling Houston Rockets in H-Town on Tuesday evening.