Through the first half the Minnesota Timberwolves seemed to be a team that was already on vacation! The Wolves got down early--at one point the Jazz had the lead pushed to 18! The Wolves took a timeout and the Target Center crowd was actually booing the Wolves. They exchanged runs in the third quarter, but the Wolves took control in the fourth and came all the way back to win it at the buzzer!
Utah started the game on a 12-2 run. The Jazz actually scored their first 20 points--all in the paint! To begin the second quarter neither team scored for the first 2.5 minutes. That didn't last long as the Jazz were able to push that lead to 18, which led to the boos during that timeout. Adelman subbed in his three guard lineup: J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour & Ricky Rubio to go along with Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic. Those three guards scored 8-straight points for the Wolves to cut the lead to 10 (3 from J.J., 3 from Ricky, 2 from Ridnour). At halftime the Wolves still found themselves down by 12; 49-37.
At halftime the TWolves had 11 turnovers and the Jazz had 10 steals!
To begin the second half Pekovic scored 6-straight points for the Wolves (after making no field goals in the first half--scored all points on 4-of-4 FT-shooting). That got the Wolves going and they were actually able to cut the lead to just 3 points with 8 minutes to go in the third quarter. That didn't last too long though. Utah went on an 8-0 run to make it 63-52. After three quarters the Jazz still found themselves ahead; 77-64.
Minnesota went on a BIG run midway through the final quarter and they found themselves down just two points, following a putback from Derrick Williams. Minnesota put together a 14-2 run over 7.5 minutes. Utah, also went without a field goal in over five minutes as the TWolves cut into the lead. Then, with 56 seconds to play Derrick Williams grabbed a rebound, was fouled on a shot, made it and then made the and-one at the line, that tied the game at 93! The Wolves would stop the Jazz and then they'd have to foul Minnesota, sending them to the line to shoot free throws. With 23.3 seconds to play Minnesota was up by one; 97-96. Out of a timeout the Jazz fouled Rubio who hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 98-96 with 22.3 seconds to play. The Jazz took a timeout and out of the timeout Al Jefferson hit a 20-foot jumper to tie it up 98-all, with just 7 seconds to play. Out of a TWolves timeout the Wolves got the ball to Ridnour who drove the lane and hit a floater as time expired, TWOLVES WIN 100-98!
Tonight was the TWolves' biggest comeback win of the season: 18pts (prev. best 16pts.). The Wolves outscored the Jazz 36-21 in the final quarter to steal this one. It was the first quarter that got the Wolves down (almost for good), outscoring Minnesota 27-15 in the first.
I had the 'pleasure' of watching the game on the Jazz network and according to them Kevin Love was completely healthy for this game and Paul Millsap is the NBA's greatest player! For the first three quarters all you heard was how Love didn't deserve to be an all-star and Millsap did! As far as the healthy part if you watched Kevin Love on the bench he had towels over his head and face and looked like he needed a nice LONG nap. In the game he looked slow and not like himself, ultimately he was completely fatigued (playing 40+mpg for how nigt after night). He finished with a season-low 10 points, but still finished with a double-double (10pts, 10rebs) for his 30th double-double of the season.
The Timberwolves move to 17-17 on the season (.500), 10-10 at the Target Center (.500) and they're, of course, 7-7 on the road (.500). Not a bad way to head into the all-star break.
J.J.'s 22 points is a new season-high (previously 16). Williams had all 13 of his points and 6 of his rebounds in the fourth quarter. He was an instrumental in putting away Utah in that final quarter. Definitely a breakout game for the young rook.
Josh Howard's 19 points matches his season high. He looked like the J-How of old (back in his Maverick days), defense, offense--everything looked solid. As suspected the Jazz big men were a big part of the team's offense & defense. Millsap & Jefferson combined for 43pts, 20rebs, 3ast, 3blks, 5stls, 18-37 FG (49% FG), 7-7 FT.
The Timberwolves finished with 18 turnovers leading to 16 Jazz points. The Jazz also pounded Minnesota in the paint: 58-30. The Jazz's 15 steals are the second-most steals for a Timberwolves opponent this season (high is 16 on 12/30 vs. MIA). The TWolves beat the Jazz on the boards, however, thanks to Love, Pek & D-Will; 48-41. Minnesota shot 11-22 from three and that was another HUGE key in the Wolves winning.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!