ST. PAUL, Minn. (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz have found their kryptonite — the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves.
D’Angelo Russell scored a wide layup with 4.2 seconds to play, as the T-Wolves beat the Jazz for the third time this season, and second time in three days, 105-104.
The Jazz erased a 13-point fourth quarter deficit and briefly took the lead on a three-pointer by Mike Conley with 6.4 seconds to play. But on the ensuing inbounds play, Russell broke away from a screen and scored easily off a beautiful pass from former Jazzman Ricky Rubio.
The Jazz last hope was stripped away when Rubio poked the ball away from Conley as time expired.
Conley led the Jazz with 26 points, but for the second straight game, Utah went ice cold from the field in the second and third quarters.
Utah made 16 of 57 three-point attempts (28.1%) with Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson combining to go 5 for 30 from beyond the arc.
“I don’t know if concern would be the word that I would choose to use, but certainly you want to win,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “I’d be concerned if we didn’t compete. I’d like to have executed better on the two possessions. But again, that’s something we have to do the same way I mentioned the other night; we have to rebound and we have to take care of the ball.”
After racing out to a 33-17 lead at the end of the first, Utah scored just 14 points in the second quarter and 23 in the third to trail by eight headed into the fourth.
Russell had a season-high seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the T-Wolves.
Minnesota, which started the day tied for the second-fewest wins in the NBA, handed the league-leading Jazz another loss. The Timberwolves (18-44) went 3-0 against Utah (44-17) this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in NBA history a team with a win percentage below .300 swept a series of at least three games against a team with a win percentage of at least .700.
Anthony Edwards added 14 points for Minnesota, which has won four of its last six games.
Rudy Gobert added 18 points for Utah, making all eight of his field goal attempts. The Jazz, playing their fifth straight game without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell, have lost three of five.
“It’s never going to be all good and all bad,” Gobert said. “We just got to find ways to put ourself in position to win every night. I thought we did that tonight. I thought we did that last game.”
The Jazz looked set to avenge a 101-96 loss to the Wolves in Utah on Saturday. They closed the first quarter on a 30-12 run and led by 18 points early in the second period.
Then, just like it did Saturday, Minnesota came back in the second.
Russell, coming off the bench since returning from knee surgery, got the cold-shooting Wolves started. He scored 15 points in the second and hit six 3s in the first half. He connected on three straight from beyond the arc to finish off a 32-9 run that gave Minnesota the lead.
The Wolves led by as many as 13 in the fourth before the Jazz closed strong.
Utah’s lead over Phoenix for the best record in the Western Conference is now down to one game. The Jazz next play at Sacramento Wednesday night.