SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – After a resounding victory in the season opener on Wednesday night, the Jazz fell flat in its home opener Saturday night against Minnesota.
D’Angelo Russell had 25 points and six assists, while the Jazz shot just 38 percent from the floor, as Minnesota held off a Jazz fourth quarter rally to win, 116-111.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Minnesota had five players score in double figures.
Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points and Donovan Mitchell added 21 to lead the Jazz. Mike Conley added 20 points and Rudy Gobert chipped in 18 points and 17 rebounds. Utah trailed over the final three quarters.
“Minnesota was the more aggressive team,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “In the first half, they ran and and they defended and we didn’t do either of those things.”
The Jazz rallied from a double-digit deficit and closed within 107-103 with 2:27 left on back-to-back 3-pointers from Mitchell. Russell hit a jumper and Josh Okogie cut to the basket for a dunk on Minnesota’s next two possessions to keep Utah from erasing the Timberwolves’ lead.
Utah made it a one-possession game on Gobert’s putback dunk with 5.9 seconds left. Russell made only 1 of 2 free throws, giving the Jazz a chance to set up a tying 3-pointer. Bojan Bogdanovic turned it over on a five-second violation with 4.2 seconds left.
“We waited too long,” said Mitchell, who made just 6 of 23 shots from the field. “It’s tough to come back from a 17-point deficit especially when they’re consistently pushing the ball and all that. For us, it’s just continuing to find ways to improve. This is something that we shouldn’t have let happen.”
Minnesota used a 12-0 run to take a 24-15 lead late in the first quarter. Anthony Edwards scored three baskets — a go-ahead 3-pointer and back-to-back layups — to fuel the outburst. Edwards tallied nine of his 18 points in the quarter.
The Jazz cut the deficit to a single possession near the midway point of the second quarter, pulling within 44-41 on a floater from Clarkson. Minnesota stamped out the rally with a 10-2 run, punctuated by a banked floater from Beasley, and extended its lead to 54-43.
Utah struggled with defending the perimeter and could not adapt enough on offense to handle consistent pressure from the Timberwolves.
Minnesota shot 55% from 3-point range in the first half. The Timberwolves made 11 3-pointers before halftime. On the other end, they forced 12 Jazz turnovers and turned those into 17 points.
Not much changed for either team in the third quarter. Minnesota led by as many as 17 points in the quarter, going up 86-69 on a Naz Reid 3-pointer.
The Jazz next play at Oklahoma City Monday night.