Timberwolves Wrap: Wolves fall short to Jazz

The Timberwolves faltered once again in a winnable game, this time to division rival Utah at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

UtahJazz

112

MinnesotaTimberwolves

103

The Timberwolves were coming off of a win spurred by a fourth quarter comeback on Friday night in Phoenix, plus a valiant performance in a loss on the second night of a back-to-back at Golden State on Saturday. A solid showing at home against a similar (but better) team in the Utah Jazz would have continued the good vibrations a bit longer.

Alas, it was not to be, as the Jazz used a second quarter run and and a strong opening to the fourth quarter to hold off the Wolves and secure a relatively easy victory by the final score of 112-103.

The Wolves looked good early, carrying a five-point lead into the second quarter, and the bench unit started the frame in control as the Wolves continued to keep the visitors at arm’s length.

But a couple of silly turnovers in short order by the reserves left the door open for Utah, and the Jazz pounced, outscoring the Wolves by a 28-18 margin in the second quarter and taking a five-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Wolves once again floundered in the opening minutes of the third quarter, albeit not to the level that fans are already used to observing. After the Jazz built a double-digit lead and threatened to blow the game wide open, the Timberwolves played well to close the frame and draw back within five points.

The fourth quarter wasn’t good to the Wolves, however. Missed layups reared their ugly head once again, as Karl-Anthony Towns missed at least three point-blank shot attempts, while Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins were also to blame for significant misses in close to the rim.

The Suns held off the Wolves down the stretch as the home team was unable to sustain any semblance of defense or score consistently on their end of the floor.

Once again, Minnesota failed in what was a real opportunity to gain some momentum. Now, the Wolves host the 8-9 New York Knicks on the front-end of a home-and-home against Jeff Hornacek‘s squad.

Tweet of the Night

Player of the Game

Zach LaVine: 28 points (9-17 FG, 2-6 3P, 8-9 FT), 8 assists, 8 rebounds, one steal, 4 turnovers

Nobody on the Jazz stood out significantly, although Gordan Hayward and George Hill managed to score 24 points apiece.

For the Wolves, LaVine led the way in points and assists and and was second on the squad in rebounds. He was efficient and played under control throughout, even remaining active on the defensive end of the floor. Now, for some consistency…

Notable Timberwolves Lines

  • Karl-Anthony Towns: 19 points (8-19 FG, 1-3 3P, 2-2 FT), 12 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block, zero turnovers
  • Andrew Wiggins: 13 points (6-16 FG, 1-2 3P, 0-0 FT), 4 assists, 2 rebounds
  • Ricky Rubio: 11 points (4-5 FG, 1-2 3P, 2-2 FT), 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, one turnover, 25 minutes

Towns missed a number of easy buckets inside and was not comfortable battling Rudy Gobert (16 points and 17 rebounds) on the glass. Wiggins somehow was unable to get to the free throw line and missed quite a few open jump-shot opportunities.

Rubio shot the ball well and appeared confident, but didn’t dish out an assist in the first half and played under foul trouble early before sitting the entire fourth quarter in favor of Tyus Jones once again.

Who’s Up Next?

The Wolves will host the 8-9 New York Knicks, who lost the Oklahoma City Thunder by nine on Monday, on Wednesday night at Target Center before traveling east to take on those same Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Monday was the start of an eight game in 14-day stretch for Minnesota, and things will only get tougher as the calendar turns to December…

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