Utah Jazz Finish Strong Against T-Wolves for Third Straight Win
The Utah Jazz were able to finish off the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center thanks to big nights from Gordon Hayward, George Hill and Rudy Gobert.
Before the Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves squared off on Monday, Wolves star Andrew Wiggins wasn’t shy about his motivation. Wiggins told the media that he was itching to give Utah’s tallest player a try. Of course, Wiggins and Rudy Gobert aren’t exactly strangers; each has put the other on the wrong end of a highlight.
Despite Wiggins’ pre-game statements, it was Gobert who won the day in a nine-point Jazz win.
What’s more — he wasn’t the only former No. 1 overall pick to fall short against the Stifle Tower.
While Wiggins struggled to make an impact, finishing with 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting and failing to dunk one down on Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns lost his own match-up with the Jazz center. It was bad; the Jazz managed to outscore Minnesota by 18 points when Towns on the floor.
Although Towns finished with 19 points and 12 boards, he was just 8-of-19 from the field and was clearly bothered by Gobert at the rim. As a team, the Jazz rocked the paint overall, outscoring the T-Wolves 60-44. Those paint points loomed large as Utah struggled from outside, hitting just 4-of-18 from three-point range.
The Stifle Tower was the key factor in Utah’s dominance down low, scoring 16 points, grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking three shots in the game.
But Gobert wasn’t the only Jazzman who had a big night at the Target Center. Gordon Hayward and George Hill were strong once again, combining for 48 points. Meanwhile, Trey Lyles was strong off the bench, hitting 6-of-8 shots for 13 points.
For the Timberwolves, Zach LaVine was the lone bright spot. He finished with a game-high 28 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.
For me, though, the key coming out of the game for the Jazz was the way they finished. It was a game of runs from beginning to end, but the biggest came during the decisive fourth quarter. After Minnesota utilized a 14-6 spurt to capture the lead at 83-82, Utah responded with a 11-0 run of their own the seize control of the contest.
In total, the Jazz dropped 38 points on the Wolves in the final period, one of their better offensive quarters all season long. It was exactly the kind of close-out offensively that you should be able to expect from a high-level playoff team.
Also, this happened during the game —
joe ingles fastbreak layups are one of my favorite NBA things. He's actually great in these situations, he just looks so casual and slow pic.twitter.com/jJKbYDfLe5
— Liam Doyle (@Who_HePlayFor) November 29, 2016
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With the victory, the Jazz improved to 10-8 and have won three straight contests. Next on tap for Utah is a home game against James Harden and the Houston Rockets to complete a back-to-back set on Tuesday.