Beverley Questions Jazz Defense Despite 32 Point Loss

Dec 8, 2021, 10:00 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley celebrates with Anthony Edwards against the Utah Jazz...

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley celebrates with Anthony Edwards against the Utah Jazz (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY –Β The Utah Jazz steamrolled Patrick Beverley and the Minnesota Timberwolves 136-104 to earn their fifth straight win while moving to 2-0 to open their four-game road trip.

Donovan Mitchell scored 36 points, tying a career-high streak of four consecutive games with at least 30 points while knocking down 14-23 from the floor and 5-12 from the three-point line.

The Jazz outscored the Wolves 76-45 in the second half, including a 41-23 fourth quarter to snap their three-game losing streak to Minnesota.

Patrick Beverley Questions Jazz Defense

At halftime, Wolves guard Patrick Beverley openly questioned whether the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert is truly the best defender in the NBA.

After scoring 14 first half points in his return from an injury, this is what Beverley had to say.

“Obviously they have one of the best, thee best Defensive Player of the Year, quote-unquote, in Rudy Gobert so we just want to get out and play fast.”

This isn’t the first time Beverley seems to have dismissed Gobert’s award.

Last season when the NBA released their Defensive Player of the Year ladder that had Gobert at the top of the rankings, Beverley sent out a tweet laughing at the fact that he did not make the top five.

Beverley was demonstrative during his strong first half, scoring over Royce O’Neale, indicating the Jazz forward was too small, then stomping on the floor.

The Timberwolves guard picked up a technical foul a few players later after he continued to mock the Jazz roster.

Beverley followed up his big first half with a two point, one assist, one turnover second half as the Timberwolves were outscored by 14 in his nine minutes on the floor.

After the game, Beverley followed up on his belief that he’s the league’s best defender, placing himself above both O’Neale and Gobert.

This is what Beverley said after the 32 point loss to the Jazz.

“I’m always guarding the best player no matter what. I’m not roaming, it’s no discredit to Royce O’Neale or any of the others on their team, but I’m Defensive Player of the Year. I’m not guarding Royce O’Neale. I’m guarding Mike Conley, I’m guarding Donovan Mitchell, I’m guarding Bogdanovic, you’ve got Rudy Gobert out there guarding [Jarred] Vanderbilt, and every time I hear he’s Defensive Player of the Year.”

The Jazz and Timberwolves will face off again on December 23. Get your popcorn ready.

Jazz Go Small In The Third

The Wolves were able to hang with the Jazz through the first half of the game, trailing by just one after two quarters.

Gobert picked up his fourth foul just 1:22 into the third quarter, and it felt like a dangerous stretch upcoming for the Jazz who were already playing shorthanded without Hassan Whiteside and had to rely on Rudy Gay for backup center minutes.

However, instead of panicking and blowing their 63-62 lead, the team took off against the bigger Timberwolves roster.

Over the next 7:30, the Jazz outscored Minnesota 20-14 on 8-15 shooting and 3-7 from the three-point line, while limiting the Wolves to just 5-14 shooting (35 percent) including 2-8 (25 percent) from the three-point line.

Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale were tasked with defending Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns while Gay was responsible for help-side defense, and though he scored seven points on 2-3 shooting in the stretch, it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Jazz.

“He had a good game,” Bogdanovic said of Towns, “but I had great help, especially from Rudy from the weakside whenever he tried to try to post me up.”

Quin Snyder has tried to use this defensive style before, opting to put a smaller defender on an opposing team’s star center while bringing bigger help-side defense off the ball.

Last season against the Denver Nuggets, Snyder started a game with Bogdanovic defending Nikola Jokic while bringing Gobert over to provide help defense which resulted in the MVP scoring 33 first half points on a blistering 13-17 shooting.

But, the Jazz coach went back to it against Towns and saw considerably more success.

“Rudy Gay — again he’s 6-foot-10,” Snyder said. “So he has a presence, particularly on the glass.”

Gay went scoreless in the stretch, missing all three of his shot attempts, but grabbed four rebounds and was a +6 in seven and a half minutes.

Dependent on how long Whiteside is out with his glute bruise, Gay will continue to see minutes at the backup five, but if he plays continues to play as well as he has against the Timberwolves in the third quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, it can be a valuable weapon for the Jazz.

Jazz Crush Wolves In The Fourth

While the third quarter continued to show promise for the team’s smaller lineup, the fourth quarter was a near-perfect combination of everything the Jazz want to be on the basketball court.

Outside of three non-garbage-time turnovers, the Jazz scored 41 fourth quarter points, shot 15-20 from the floor, and 9-12 from the three-point line while holding Minnesota to just 23 points on 7-22 field goal attempts and 5-16 from three.

The Jazz outrebounded Minnesota 16-5 in the final period, out-assisted them 7-3, and allowed only Towns and Malik Beasley to score in the first 7:38 of the quarter to coast to the easy win.

After a less than spectacular homestand that saw them split eight straight games in Salt Lake City, the Jazz have won five straight, including arguably their three best wins of the season consecutively.

Boston isn’t a great basketball team but had won 10 of 15 heading into Utah before a 137-130 loss. The Cavaliers appear destined to make the playoffs in the East and had won four in a row before falling to the Jazz in Cleveland on Sunday.

The Timberwolves had lost three straight games before Wednesday night’s loss to the Jazz, but had won seven of eight before this stretch and looked ready to take another step in the Western Conference.

Over the last five games, the Jazz and the Houston Rockets are the only two undefeated teams, while the team’s 17.0 Net Ratings ranks second-best behind only the Memphis Grizzlies.

All the while, the Jazz are knocking down a blistering 22.2 threes per game, including an NBA record three-straight games with at least 20 threes made.

The team was a little slow to show up this season dropping some surprising games to Orlando and New Orleans, but they’re on a tear as of late and appear to be back among the favorites in the West.

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Beverley Questions Jazz Defense Despite 32 Point Loss