SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz won the three games prior to the NBA All-Star weekend. Since things picked back up, the Jazz have dropped three in a row, and the latest was a 121-104 blowout at the hands of the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night.
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love showed why he is one of the elite players in the league. He simply dominated and set the tone early for his team’s collective effort. Love connected on 11-of-20 field goals, including six 3-pointers. Throw in 9-of-10 from the free-throw line and the All-Star finished with 37 points in a mere 33 minutes. With 12 rebounds and 10 assists, Love registered his first-ever triple double, becoming the 10th player in Minnesota history to record one.
Utah's Enes Kanter continued his recent string of strong games. For the second time in as many nights, the Turkish center had a team-high 25 points (11 of 14 from the floor). He also snared seven rebounds.
Starters do their thing: In addition to Love’s amazing game, the other four starters made their marks. All five players scored in double-digits — 15 for point guard Ricky Rubio, 13 apiece for Corey wings Brewer and Chase Budinger and 11 for fill-in starter Dante Cunningham. The fivesome ended up grabbing 31 rebounds while doling out 23 assists. Four of them had +/- marks of +15 or better.
Swingmen showing: It is hard to keep competitive in a game when three of a team's four leading scorers have subpar shooting performances, and that is exactly what happened to Utah. Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke and Alec Burks had some shooting woes from the floor.
Hayward had one of the roughest games of his career in the past three seasons. The Butler product simply could not get anything going. He went 2 of 10 from the field and did not have a single rebound or assist. Burke went 7 of 19 from the floor and 2 of 9 from downtown. He finished with 16 points, six assists and no turnovers.
Lastly, Burks was again aggressive in his forays to the hoop, earning 14 trips to the charity stripe (nailing 11). His shooting from the field was less impressive in making just 2-of-11. When it was said and done, the trio hit a combined 11 of 40 from the floor (27.5 percent).
Odds and ends:
- While Utah big man anchor Derrick Favors was again out, Minnesota was also without an inside presence in Nikola Pekovic.
- There were only 19 total turnovers in the game. Much of the game was spent at the free-throw line. The two squads combine to shoot 69 free throws.
- Rookie center Rudy Gobert had nine rebounds and two blocked shots in just 13 minutes.
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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