Houston Rockets power forward Terrence Jones had 25 points in the first half of his game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The Utah Jazz had 23 collective points in their first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On Friday, Kevin Durant tallied 54 points. On Saturday, the Jazz managed just 72. Thanks in part to Utah’s lackadaisical play, Minnesota enjoyed a 98-72 blowout win.
It was simply one of those evenings for the Jazz. They seemingly were a step or two or three behind on both offense and defense and could not get anything going the entire outing. While both teams were playing the second half of back-to-backs and while both traveled to Minneapolis, it was the Timberwolves who had the energy and execution to easily garner the victory. They may have been a bit lackluster at times themselves, but Minnesota ran away.
Utah completed the end of a three-game road trip and will enjoy a more home-focused schedule the next few weeks.
How bad was it?: Utah had the most futile effort of its now 14-28 season. It could not put points on the board with quarters of 14 and nine points and an embarrassing first-half with the aforementioned 23 total. Its ice-cold shooting stayed absolutely frigid, even with a decent burst in garbage time. The Jazz connected on just 21 of 73 field goals—a paltry 28.8 percent. They were slightly worse beyond the arc, hitting 7 of 25 3-pointers. Alec Burks was the lone Jazz player who scored double-digits.
The Jazz, whose recent play has been characterized by extra passing and sharp execution, were in utter disarray versus the Timberwolves. They doled out a mere 12 assists compared to 16 turnovers. Minnesota held the dominant 19-4 advantage in fast-break points, along with a 50-18 edge in the paint.
It was a very unmemorable outing through and through for the Jazz, and that may be a dramatic understatement.
Timberwolves' timber: Minnesota’s strong performance was led by its powerful and productive frontcourt. All-Star Kevin Love did it all with 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in just 29 minutes. His partner-in-crime, center Nikola Pekovic, tallied 27 points and 14 rebounds. Conversely, Utah’s young bigs struggled, as Derrick Favors finished with eight points and 10 caroms, while Enes Kanter had four points in a foul-plagued appearance.
This and that:
• Given the score, no Minnesota player logged more than 29 minutes.
• The two players the Timberwolves obtained on draft night in exchange for point guard Trey Burke, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng, both made appearances.
• Veteran forwards Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams were a combined 2 of 11 from the field.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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