Wolves Tune Out Jazz In Impressive Victory
Defense wins games.
With the game on the line, the Minnesota Timberwolves forced the Utah Jazz into a five-second violation to regain possession, and eventually emerge victorious, 116-111.
“This is a tough place to win,” said Head Coach Ryan Saunders postgame. “Any time you can come out of here with a win, you did a lot of things right.”
Minnesota executed a near-perfect first half, scoring 68 points en route to a 15-point halftime advantage.
The Wolves shot over 50% from the field and three-point line while holding Utah to under 40% from the field in the game’s opening half.
Utah would storm back into the game late in the fourth quarter, cutting the Timberwolves’ lead to just three before D’Angelo Russell sealed the contest with two free throws.
Russell finished the night with 25 points, including nine in the game’s final frame, coupled with six assists throughout the contest. Malik Beasley poured in 18 points, Karl-Anthony Towns ended with 16 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, and three steals, and rookie Anthony Edwards efficiently scored 18.
Edwards continued to show improvement in his young career, shooting 8-of-12 from the floor and showcasing a defensive tenacity that netted two steals.
“I relish every moment,” said the rookie. “I go out there and just play basketball and do what I’ve been drafted to do which is put the ball into the hoop to the best of my abilities.”
Second-year guard-forward Jarrett Culver also continued his strong showings in 2020-21, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-7 field goals along with six rebounds.
2-0. #RaisedByWolves@DLoading: 25 pts. / 6 ast. @KarlTowns: 16 pts. / 12 reb. / 4 blk. / 3 ast.@Mbeasy5: 18 pts. / 6 reb. @theantedwards_: 18 pts. / 2 stl.@jarrettc08: 14 pts. / 6 reb. pic.twitter.com/iSmFCX6Qy7
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) December 27, 2020
As impressive as Minnesota’s offense was, its defense is what set the game’s precedent. After 48 minutes, the Wolves had forced 19 Utah miscues which led to 26 Timberwolves points. Additionally, the team held the Jazz to 38.3% shooting from the floor, and just 10-of-34 from long range (29.4%).
Following their 2-0 start, the Timberwolves will turn their attention to the Los Angeles Lakers for a matchup at Staples Center on Sunday evening. It will be the first of eight back-to-back sets for Minnesota during the first half of the schedule.