Jazz Top Wolves 96-80 In Home Finale

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Despite a chance to finish the home slate with a positive record, the Minnesota Timberwolves dropped a 96-80 loss to the Utah Jazz in the final Target Center contest of the season.

"You could see it in all the guys' faces after the game," Budinger said. "That's not how we wanted to end our last home game. That's not typical of us. We fight throughout the whole game, but we had some letdowns tonight."

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Wolves vs. Jazz

The Jazz led for almost the entire game, starting with a huge 16-2 advantage. The Wolves got within three points at one point in the third quarter, but Utah blew the lead open in the fourth and got up by as much as 22.

"Our schedule at the end of the season has been tough, but it’s been tough for all teams," Ricky Rubio said during post-game. "We don’t have any excuses. We didn’t have energy enough today, and we’ll take the blame."

Utah, fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, again rode Al Jefferson as their top scoring threat. Two games prior, Jefferson dumped a career-high 40 points on the Wolves in Utah. He didn't have as big of a performance on Monday night, but he still converted 8-for-15 shots for 22 points along with eight rebounds.

"I know it’s tough," Rubio said. "Especially at the end of the season when the other team is fighting for playoff and we’re not. You have to show you want to win every game."

Besides Jefferson, Mo Williams recorded 15 points and Randy Foye had 14. The Jazz shot 46 percent from the field and only missed two free throws, shooting 91.3 percent from the stripe.

Derrick Williams scored a team-high 18 points for Minnesota, including several big dunks. Bench players Dante Cunningham and J.J. Barea added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The game capped a day where coach Rick Adelman and the rest of the team answered questions about their status with the franchise going into the summer. For players who may or may not return, like restricted free agent Chase Budinger, the future remains unclear.

"I would like to come back," Budinger said in the locker room. "I like the organization, I like the staff, I love Adelman. But it's up to me and my agent and negotiations."

Leader of the Pack

Wolves forward Derrick Williams wrapped up tonight’s game with 18 points and six assists in 40 minutes, and he did it in style with some of his most aggressive jams of the season coming in tonight’s game. One in particular came off a Luke Ridnour alley-oop, a rim-rattling two-handed slam. Williams collected his 44th double-digit scoring game of the season after compiling 27 as a rookie last year. He also shot 7-of-13 from the field and pulled down one of the Wolves’ three offensive rebounds.

Highlight of the Night

With 2:38 left in the first half, Chase Budinger had an excellent defensive play that broke up an alley-oop attempt by Mo Williams and forced a well-timed turnover. Up court, J.J. Barea got the ball at the wing and drained his second 3-pointer of the night. Most importantly, it brought the Wolves to within two at 43-41 nearing the end of the half.

The Numbers Game

  • Both teams struggled from the perimeter tonight. The Wolves finished 2-of-17 from 3-point range, while the Jazz finished 3-of-10 from behind the arc.
  • The Wolves narrowly missed holding a winning home record for the season, which would have been their first winning record at Target Center since 2005-06.
  • Al Jefferson scored 40 in the Jazz 107-100 victory on Friday, and he dropped 22 tonight at Target Center. In his past two games against Minnesota, he’s shot 26-of-40 from the field.
  • Almost no second chance opportunities for either team in the first half. Utah had one offensive rebound in the half, while Minnesota had zero. The Jazz owned a 2-0 lead in second chance points at the half. Each team finished with three on the night.
  • The Jazz opened up the night with a 16-2 lead, and all five Utah starters scored before Minnesota registered a field goal. But after an 0-for-6 start, the Wolves went 4-of-7 after a Rick Adelman timeout.
  • Quote of the Night

    “I don’t care about that, I just care about winning. I just want to win every single game. I know it’s tough, especially at the end of the season when the other team is fighting for playoff and we’re not. You have to show you want to win every game.” — Wolves guard Ricky Rubio, when asked about narrowly missing the franchise’s first winning home record since 2005-06

    Next Up

    The Wolves wrap up the 2012-13 regular season on Wednesday against the Spurs in San Antonio. There they’ll look to win their fifth game in April, which would be the first time since the 2004-05 season (six victories).

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com