UTAH JAZZ

Gobert Misses Clutch Free Throws, Try-Hard Jazz Down Wolves

Oct 21, 2022, 9:56 PM | Updated: Nov 7, 2022, 2:27 pm

Rudy-Gobert-Minnesota-timberwolves-utah-jazz-free-throws...

Rudy Gobert misses free throws against the Utah Jazz (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Rudy Gobert missed two clutch free throws while Lauri Markkanen and Mike Conley hit big baskets to give the Jazz a 132-126 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime.

The Jazz surprisingly moved to 2-0 including Wednesday’s season-opening win over the Denver Nuggets.

Three Jazz players scored at least 21 points including Jordan Clarkson who led the team with 29 points.

Jazz Show No Quit

The Jazz fell behind by 17 points midway through the second quarter but calmly stuck to their game plan and erased the massive deficit.

The Timberwolves led by just nine at halftime, and a 22-6 run to open the third quarter gave the Jazz their first lead of the game at 69-68.

While it was Clarkson’s hot shooting that carried the Jazz’s offense, the hustle of new Jazzman Jarred Vanderbilt was the true star.

The fifth-year forward’s motor may be better than his skill set, but Minnesota was unable to get into its offensive sets throughout the third quarter as Vanderbilt filled passing lanes and picked the pocket of lazy dribblers.

Those takeaways turned into transition opportunities for the Jazz whose lead ballooned to as large as seven in the third.

Vanderbilt finished the game with just four points on 2-5 shooting, but his 14 rebounds (10 D, 4 O), four assists, and four steals were the key to the Jazz’s comeback.

Minnesota reportedly was wary of including forward Jaden McDaniels in the blockbuster trade for Gobert, but on Friday, it was Vanderbilt who looked like the better young piece.

Gobert’s Familiar Struggles

Gobert followed his season-opening masterpiece for the Timberwolves with another impressive stat line against the Jazz in game two.

The former Jazzman recorded nine points, 23 rebounds, and two blocked shots in nearly 38 minutes on the floor.

He also provided his patented multi-action defense to slow the Jazz at critical moments in the game.

However, he also struggled in some familiar ways late in the game, opening the door for the Jazz to steal the victory.

The Jazz repeatedly spaced Gobert and the Timberwolves defense in the fourth quarter with a five-out offense featuring Markkanen and Kelly Olynyk.

The two Jazz big men connected on 2-4 three-point attempts while the team knocked down 7-12 in the period to keep pace with the Timberwolves offense.

Then, in overtime, after a Conley three gave the Jazz a 128-126 lead in the final minute, the veteran point guard smartly fouled Gobert to put him on the free-throw line rather than give up the easy dunk with 34 seconds left to play.

Gobert, a career 63 percent free throw shooter, missed both freebies at the line.

Markkanen answered with a clutch mid-range jumper to extend the Jazz lead to four and put the game out of reach.

Gobert remains a fabulous player, but even in just his second game, coach Will Hardy knew how to exploit the Timberwolves defensive weaknesses with the former Jazzman and Karl Anthony-Towns on the floor.

Then, Gobert’s offensive limitations hurt Minnesota in a clutch spot.

The Timberwolves will win far more games because of Gobert than they lose, but there were recognizable flaws in Minnesota’s game plan.

Jazz Turn To Pelicans

The Jazz now take their blemish-free record to New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Sunday evening.

New Orleans burst out of the gate with an impressive win on the road over the Brooklyn Nets before downing the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the Pelicans second win of the season while Zion Williamson added 16 and five.

New Orleans is a dark horse to make a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs after pressing the Phoenix Suns in the opening round last year.

However, they are the third straight team the Jazz will face that is trying to integrate a major piece into the rotation after Williamson missed all of last season with a foot injury.

The Jazz and Pelicans will tip off at 5 pm in New Orleans. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The games will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

Extras

  • Walker Kessler finally missed a basket, but still shot 2-3 from the floor, scoring six points, grabbing five rebounds, and blocking four shots in 17 minutes.
  • Mike Conley led the Jazz starters in plus-minus for the second straight game. The Jazz are now +29 in two games with the veteran point guard on the floor.
  • Rudy Gay had just two points after Wednesday’s impressive 16 point outing.
  • Collin Sexton has gone 7-8 from the free throw line in both games this season. He’s got 18 field goal attempts and 16 free throw attempts on the season through two games.
  • Every real Jazz rotation player (non-garbage minutes) recorded an assist for the second straight game.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

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Gobert Misses Clutch Free Throws, Try-Hard Jazz Down Wolves