Right from the beginning, we didn’t have any pep to us. We didn’t have any energy. —Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin
MINNEAPOLIS — The Utah Jazz found themselves trailing by 36 points Saturday at the Target Center after apparently sending their offense and oomph back to the Beehive State from Detroit the previous night.
“Right from the beginning, we didn’t have any pep to us,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We didn’t have any energy.”
They didn’t have many points in their worst scoring night of the season and their worst shooting game in the franchise’s four-decade history, either.
But there was some drama in the closing moments of the ugly 98-72 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Would this be a historically bad game for the Jazz?
Or just a hysterically bad game?
Turns out, it was both.
Pop the Rolaids.
In a performance that brought back bad memories of a 1-14 start, the Jazz shot only 28.8 percent from the field. That replaced a 29.3 percent outing in New York on Nov. 14, 2005, as the new shooting low for the 39-year-old organization.
As dismayed Minnesotans say in these parts: Uff da!
“It’s one of those nights,” Jazz forward Marvin Williams said. “It just seemed like we came out (and) we were pretty flat. We didn’t have energy on either end, and Minnesota took advantage of it.”
The Jazz’s offense for the first two quarters was so dreadful, it seemed like they were playing on an 8-foot rim in the second half in comparison. And, by the way, Utah only scored 49 points in the final two periods.
Despite coming off one of their best all-around games in a 110-89 victory at Detroit on Friday, the Jazz came out in dud mode in Minnesota.
The Jazz scored 14 points in the first quarter.
Showing that it surprisingly could get worse than that, Utah only managed nine points in the second quarter.
No other NBA team in Minnesota’s history had scored as little as 23 points in a half before the Jazz did Saturday. They tied a franchise-low with just eight field goals in that horrid half. On the bright side, future lottery picks Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins played well earlier in the day.
“They dominated the game. They had more energy,” Corbin said of the Timberwolves, who snapped a three-game losing streak. “They made some shots. I thought both teams in the beginning of the game struggled a little bit, but they got it going and we never turned the corner.”
It got so bad that Jeremy Evans, who has springs for feet, seemed to be playing catch with the rim as he failed to convert three put-back attempts in three seconds from point-blank range late in the second quarter.
When that happens to the former dunk champ, a 6-9 athlete who can nearly jump and touch something 13 feet high, you know something weird is in the offing. (Yes, emphasis on the off part.)
“Oh, man. It was horrible. I told myself, ‘There’s no way I’m going to miss these shots. (There’s) definitely a lid on this thing,’ ” Evans said. “That just kind of explains what kind of night we had.”
Even Derrick Favors, the Jazz’s powerful 6-10 center, had close-range issues. During one possession, Favors had a dunk attempt blocked by the side of the rim. After grabbing the offensive rebound, the athletic big man clanged a second dunk off of the top of the inhospitable cylinder.
“It’s just tough. Coach said it best, ‘Shots weren’t falling,’ ” Evans said. “It seemed like we didn’t come out ready to fight.”
Shooting guard Alec Burks, again starting for injured Gordon Hayward, was the only Jazz player to reach double figures in scoring. He had 18 points but on 4-of-10 shooting.
On a night when 12 different guys saw time — everyone but Hayward and Andris Biedrins — not one single Jazz player hit half of his shots. Bonus points to rookie center Rudy Gobert, who didn’t attempt a field goal but made both free throws for his first points since Dec. 6.
Utah’s starters combined to make 11 of 41 shots as the team dropped to 14-28 overall.
Center Nikola Pekovic led the T-Wolves to their first win over Utah in two seasons, snapping the Jazz’s five-game streak, with 27 points and 14 rebounds. Minnesota’s duo of Kevins also had a big night, with Martin scoring 20 points and Love contributing 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The only thing Minnesota (19-21) did wrong on the night was not score on its final possession to prevent fans from getting free frozen yogurt for a 100-point game.
“Maybe our legs were a little tired, but you can’t make excuses about that,” Williams said as the Jazz ended their road trip 1-2. “You’ve got to go out there and compete every night. Give Minnesota credit. They played (Friday) night and they came back and protected their home court. We’re going to try to do the same thing on Tuesday."
Don't worry, Jazz fans. He was referring to doing what the T-Wolves did, not giving a repeat performance of Utah's 21-of-73 shooting night.