Russell, Timberwolves Down Jazz In Gobert Return

Dec 9, 2022, 10:19 PM | Updated: 10:20 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell (0) gets a rebound while playing the Utah Jazz in Salt Lak...
Minnesota Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell (0) gets a rebound while playing the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City (Credit: Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
(Credit: Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY –D’Angelo Russell knocked down six fourth quarter threes and the Minnesota Timberwolves downed the Jazz 118-108 as Rudy Gobert made his return to Utah.

Lauri Markkanen missed his second straight game due to illness, while Collin Sexton (hamstring), and Simone Fontecchio (ankle) each sat out due to injury.

Gobert scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and helped slow the Jazz shorthanded offense, but riled some feathers with a late-game layup.

Jazz Offense Struggles Against Timberwolves

The Jazz managed just 108 points against Minnesota, tied for their fifth-lowest total of the season with their first, and third-leading scorers sidelined.

As a team, the Jazz knocked down 29 percent of their threes (13-44), their fourth-lowest mark of the season in the loss.

“He’s an all-star,” Malik Beasley said of Markkanen’s absence. “Whenever your All-Star is out everyone has to step up a little bit more.”

Mike Conley returned for the Jazz after a nine-game absence due to a left knee strain and scored 17 points on 6-11 shooting from the floor, but played just 25 minutes off the bench.

The Jazz trailed by 15 at the half and rallied to tie the game at 79, but never retook the lead in the second half.

Beasley scored 23 points against his former team while Jordan Clarkson added 21 points for the Jazz.

Russell scored 30 points to lead Minnesota, 20 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Teams Get Chippy After Final Whistle

With Minnesota leading 116-108 in the closing seconds of the game, Rudy Gobert caught the ball underneath the Timberwolves’ hoop and laid it in unnecessarily to extend the lead.

Jazz coach Will Hardy appeared to bark at Gobert after the basket, as Malik Beasley approached the Timberwolves center and exchanged words after the final buzzer sounded.

“It was just disrespectful,” Beasley said. “Unwritten rule of basketball and I told him that.”

In the postgame press conference, Hardy had little to say about Gobert’s final basket.

“It was a nice layup,” Hardy said. “He now has 22 points, he played a great game.”

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch also described what he saw on the final possession.

“Don’t press us,” Finch said of the Jazz’s late defense. “If you’re going to press us, we’re going to lay it in.”

Conley also added his thoughts on the controversial finish.

“It is what it is,” the veteran said, “but obviously we didn’t like it.”

Jazz Welcome Brittney Griner Home

Before the Jazz regular season home opener against the Denver Nuggets, Jordan Clarkson took a moment to pay tribute to Brittney Griner who had been detained by Russian authorities and held in an overseas labor camp.

“I want to acknowledge that Brittney Griner is still in Russia right now being held prisoner,” Clarkson said. “Please keep her family and her in y’all blessing as you keep going on with your everyday lives.”

The United States Government was able to secure Griner’s safe return on Thursday after spending 10 months in detention, and three months after she was given a nine-year prison sentence by a Russian judge.

On Friday Will Hardy shared his thoughts on Griner’s return.

“Happy that she’s back,” the Jazz coach said. “Incredibly hard for her and her family — people being wrongfully detained abroad and at home is something that a lot of people care very deeply about — and I’m one of them. It was a good day to see somebody come home that didn’t need to be detained any longer.”

Clarkson echoed Hardy’s words.

“I’m just glad she’s home,” Clarkson said.

Jazz Face Quick Turnaround Against Nuggets

The Jazz now face a difficult turnaround as they hop on a plane and travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Saturday night.

The Nuggets are coming off a thrilling 121-120 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday night in Portland.

Jamal Murray hit a clutch three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left over Jerami Grant to give the Nuggets the victory.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Denver who has struggled over the last month.

After opening the season 8-3, the Nuggets are just 7-7 since November 11.

Murray is listed as probable for Saturday’s game against the Jazz due to a left knee contusion.

The All-Star guard is coming off a torn ACL and was slow to find his rhythm to open the season. However, Murray has scored 20 points or more in seven of the Nuggets’ last ten games while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 36 percent from the three-point line.

Meanwhile, Nikola Jokic has continued his run of MVP level through the first third of the season for Denver. The superstar leads the Nuggets in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals at 23.5 points, 10.0 boards, 8.9 dimes, and 1.2 steals.

The Jazz represents the first game in an advantageous stretch for the Nuggets who will play six of their next seven games at home concluding with a matchup against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day.

Jazz Next Broadcast

The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will tip off at 7 pm MT. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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Russell, Timberwolves Down Jazz In Gobert Return