Jazz Can’t Handle Timberwolves’ Physicality In Home Opening Loss

Dec 26, 2020, 9:52 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm
Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives into Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during ...
Jordan Clarkson #00 of the Utah Jazz drives into Naz Reid #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 26, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It was an ugly game for most of their home opener for the Utah Jazz in their 116-111 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Jazz climbed back within striking distance after trailing by double digits. They were down by three points, 114-111 with 4.2 left. Utah had the ball on the inbounds pass but turned it over with a five second violation.

Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 23 points, Donovan Mitchell had 21 points, 5 assists, 3 steals and two blocks, while shooting just 6-of-23 from the field. Mike Conley added 20 points, Rudy Gobert had another double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

D’Angelo Russell scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards scored 18 points apiece. Karl Anthony-Towns chipped in 16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.

It seemed throughout the game that the Timberwolves were physical on defense and the Jazz couldn’t get past that until it was too late.

Jazz Struggle With T’Wolves Physicality In First Half

The Jazz couldn’t get that offensive firepower that they had in their season opener against Portland. As a team, they shot 5-of-15 from beyond the arc, while Minnesota was red-hot from deep going 11-for-20.

Two Jazz players were in double figures in the first half and both were bench players. Jordan Clarkson had 11 points, while Joe Ingles added 10 points. Donovan Mitchell managed to score just 4 points on 1-for-6 shooting from the floor.

In the first 24 minutes, Minnesota had four players in double figures, led by D’Angelo Russell with 16, No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards had 12, Jarrett Culver chipped in 11 points and Malik Beasley had 10.

Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field, while the Jazz were just 37 percent.

Not Enough To Pick Up Win

Utah pulled as close as five points early in the fourth quarter but the Timberwolves weathered the storm and extended the lead back out to double digits. Then Donovan Mitchell caught fire with a couple of threes late in the game and the Jazz got within four points with 40.4 left in the game. Quickly after, the Timberwolves scored.

Minnesota’s physical defense led to 18 Utah turnovers. The Timberwolves capitalized with 26 points off of those turnovers. Minnesota had just 10 turnovers with the Jazz scoring 11 points off of those miscues.

The Jazz dropped to 1-1 on the season and will be back out on the road to face the Oklahoma City on Monday, December 28 at 6 p.m. MST on AT&T SportsNet.

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