[January 22, 2014]SALT LAKE CITY — Shooting guard
Gordon Hayward returned from his five-game injury absence, but his big
night was not nearly enough to keep the short-handed Utah Jazz from
suffering a 112-97 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.
Power forward Kevin Love flirted with a triple-double with 19
points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as Minnesota dominated the
Jazz for the second time in four nights.
On Saturday, Love had 18 points and 13 boards as the Timberwolves
held Utah to a franchise-low 28.8 percent shooting in a 98-72 win at
Target Center. Minnesota lost five in a row to Utah coming into the
"Having seen them on Saturday, we felt like we knew them pretty
well," said Love, who grabbed his 4,000th career rebound in this
win. "We came in here and had a good shoot-around and had a good
game plan and ended up winning both games. We were happy with how we
played against the Jazz."
The Timberwolves had lost three straight overall and a got a
four-game road trip off to a good start with this lopsided victory.
Minnesota, which had not won two straight since Dec. 27-28 against
Washington and Milwaukee, continues this trek with games in Golden
State, Portland and Chicago.
"It was a solid game for us," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said.
"The first three quarters, especially, I thought we defended them
pretty well. ... I was pleased with the way we came out and
controlled the game from the beginning to the end."
Hayward finished with a game-high 27 points with five rebounds and
five assists in his first game in two weeks after being sidelined
with a left hip flexor. The swingman, Utah's leading scorer, had not
played since his career-high 37-point outing at home in a 112-101
win over Oklahoma City on Jan. 7. The Jazz were 2-3 in his absence.
"It was a slow start," Hayward said. "But I made some shots ... and
it felt good to be back out there."
Utah, however, only had two other players in double figures — Alec
Burks (18) and Jeremy Evans (10) — and went without one of their
Center Derrick Favors did not play because of a right hip abductor
injury. That forced Utah to use a makeshift starting lineup, which
included fill-in center Enes Kanter, Hayward, guard Trey Burke,
forward Richard Jefferson and forward Marvin Williams all together
for the first time this season.
This was not how the Jazz (14-29) hoped to start their longest home
stand of the season.
Williams put Utah up 4-2 at the 10:38 mark of the first quarter, and
the Jazz never came close to leading again. Shooting guard Kevin
Martin and Love hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Timberwolves went
on an 8-0 run to take control.
Minnesota led 34-16 by the end of the first quarter and went ahead
by as many as 26 points.
"I thought they had a little more pop in the beginning of the
game," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We settled for a lot of
jump shots early in the game. That first quarter really hurt
Forward Corey Brewer continued his torrid shooting, scoring 19
points after hitting 7 of 11 shots. He'd shot 51 percent in the
12 games prior to Tuesday.
Center Nikola Pekovic contributed 18 points and nine rebounds,
point guard Ricky Rubio dished out 13 assists with 11 points,
and Martin poured in 18 points before leaving in the third
quarter for good with a cut right pinky finger.
Guard Alexey Shved also left in the first quarter after
suffering a broken nose.
The Timberwolves finished the first half of their schedule one
game below .500 at 20-21 after snapping a seven-game losing
streak in Utah. Minnesota hadn't won in Utah since Dec. 14,
"I think we need that win (on Saturday), and I think we had a
great team effort defensively," Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea
said. "I think it carried on tonight. ... I think we put a good
team effort two (games) in a row against Utah."
Utah has three days off before hosting the Wizards on Saturday.
NOTES: Timberwolves All-Star F Kevin Love, who can opt out of
his contract and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015,
admitted he's gotten tired of being asked about his future.
"Sure," he said. "I just want to talk about the game tonight,
live in the present and go from there." ... Jazz C Derrick
Favors originally injured his hip on the first play of Friday
night's game when he came down wrong on a dunk. He wasn't pulled
out of action until he struggled in Monday's warm-ups. "I'm a
competitive person," he said. "I'm always ready to play, but at
the same time I've got to listen to my body and listen to my
trainers and just know that it's a long season." ... One of the
best parts of being back for Jazz G Gordon Hayward is being done
with tedious treatment routines. "Happy to be done with that,"
Hayward said. "It's just a lot of sitting there and getting ice
and (stimulation) and heat and then ice and then heat again and
then ice again, and just watching SportsCenter over and over and
over. It's pretty boring." ... Minnesota shot a season-best 91.7
percent (22-24) from the free-throw line. ... Utah shot 47.1
percent from the field after its worst-ever shooting game
Saturday. ... Jazz rookie center had a career-high three blocks.