NBA: Home woes continue for Wolves
Wolves drop sixth game in a row and at home following loss to Utah
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Donovan Mitchell had 30 points and six assists, Joe Ingles pitched in a season-high 23 points and the Utah Jazz beat Minnesota 127-116 on Wednesday to stick the Timberwolves with their sixth straight loss.
Rudy Gobert added 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Jazz, who won for just the third time in their last nine games by taking over with a 38-24 advantage in the third quarter.
Jeff Teague scored 32 points, making all four of his 3-pointers and all six of his free throws, but the Timberwolves dropped their sixth consecutive home game and fell to 3-8 at Target Center this season. They’re 7-6 on the road. Andrew Wiggins had 26 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota.
Utah has made its mark on defense under coach Quin Snyder, but that has fallen off lately in a stumble through the last three weeks. Five times in their last nine games, the Jazz allowed 120 or more points, which none of their opponents reached in their first 15 games. They’re still eighth in the league in points allowed, but the lackluster communication and decreased intensity has had Snyder concerned.
This was a better display, aside from the 36-point second quarter by the Wolves. The Jazz, who had separate spurts of 8-0 and 10-0 in the third quarter to break the game open, kept Towns from getting comfortable. Their ball movement on the other end was the ticket to success, with Jeff Green’s corner 3-pointer with 1:58 left in the period a prime example that pushed their lead to double digits for the first time at 90-78.
Georges Niang tossed in a couple of 3-pointers down the stretch, and the Wolves never gained any more steam. With the Jazz leading 117-102 midway through the fourth quarter, Towns was called for charging after knocking Mitchell over with an elbow to the forehead in the post to negate a basket.
With the Timberwolves starting fresh this season under president Gersson Rosas and coach Ryan Saunders, rookie Jarrett Culver didn’t take long to crack the starting lineup. Saunders has preferred to use Wiggins as a primary handler, too, meaning Teague has recently had to adjust to both coming off the bench and playing more off the ball.
Even if he’s in the final year of his contract, in his 11th season in the league, Teague has proven his value beyond just experience, and leadership. He scored 15 points in the second quarter, finishing with a 3-pointer and a reverse layup in the final 32 seconds to forge a 59-all tie. After Mitchell’s 3-pointer gave the Jazz a 47-40 lead that was their largest of the half, Teague answered with one of his own just 11 seconds later. He was fighting through a sore left ankle, too, that had him listed as questionable to play earlier in the day.
Jazz: Guard Mike Conley missed his fourth straight game with left hamstring tightness, keeping Ingles in the starting lineup. … Mitchell shot 8 for 11 from the floor in the first half.
Timberwolves: Forward Keita Bates-Diop was scratched with flu-like symptoms, leaving Minnesota a bit thin on the wing. Forward Jake Layman missed his 10th straight game due to a sprained left toe. … Teague matched his season high and missed his career high by two points, registering his ninth career 30-point game.
Jazz: Host Golden State on Friday. They have beaten the Warriors twice already this season.
Timberwolves: Stay home to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, an 8:30 p.m. Central time tipoff for national TV.