Minnesota Timberwolves 84 – Utah Jazz 106

Photo Credit: lebasketbawl.com

Photo Credit: lebasketbawl.com

The Pups opened up an important back to back series against division rivals in Utah Wednesday night Andrei Kirilenko made his return to Utah for the first time since leaving the Jazz before last season’s lockout. The bad news for the Wolves was that Ricky Rubio didn’t travel with the team due to his back spasms from the past weekend and will also miss Thursday’s contest in Denver.

The Pups started the game with Ridnour, Shved, Kirilenko, Love, and Pekovic. The Jazz announced an injury to Mo Williams earlier in the day and he will miss quite a bit of time (months, not weeks). Given the needed adjustment here, the Jazz starting lineup consisted of Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, and Al Jefferson.

After the Utah faithful gave AK a nice ovation during introductions, they seemingly left the building because it was virtually silent for the first few minutes of the quarter. Halfway through the first quarter and the Jazz held a 15-10 lead going into a timeout. The Wolves defensive effort was porous at best. Despite their defensive struggles, the Jazz managed to go cold towards the end of the first quarter, allowing the Wolves to take a 24-23 lead into the second.

The only player worth noting for the Wolves is/was AK47’s strong performance in the opening quarter; 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist. The Jazz frontline put in all but 6 of their points, with Tinsley scoring the balance. Randy Foye and Gordon Hayward combined for a donut on 0-5 shooting from the floor. Finally, a team with a worse rotation of SG’s than what the Pups have right now. (To be fair, Randy has had a very decent first two months of the season.)

The Jazz opened up the second quarter on a 9-2 run, leading to an Adelman timeout. The Wolves lack of firepower when Love is off on the offensive end is starting to get a little concerning. That said, Love’s outside shooting continues to be atrocious and Adelman needs to rein this in immediately. The green light needs to be taken away until he starts to improve his offensive game in and around the paint.

At the end of the half, the Jazz held a 53-45 lead, putting up 30 points in the second quarter. Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:

  • The Pups were very lethargic on the defense to start the game and that carried over to the defensive end pretty quickly
  • Kirilenko and Pekovic performed well, while Love, the starting backcourt, and the Pups bench all looked bad
  • It is probably time to stop throwing in little insults on opposing players in the game previews; Jamaal Tinsley led the Jazz in the first half with 10 & 5, ugh!
  • Sidney Lowe sighting! Sidney is on Ty Corbin’s coaching staff
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    The third quarter started but you could make the argument that the Wolves didn’t come out of the locker room. The Jazz opened up with a 9-0 run to increase the lead to 17 points. Kevin Love picked up a technical foul and the Jazz built a 20 point lead off of more lackadaisical play.

    The Wolves were able to cut into the lead a bit to close out the third quarter, as the Jazz took a 79-66 lead into the fourth quarter. Love came alive a bit, finishing the third with 13 & 10 for the game. However, he and Shved continued to struggle from the field, going a combined 6-23 from the field, including 1-10 from three point range.

    For the second time over the past few weeks, the Wolves bored me into casual watching by the time the fourth quarter really got going. Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, yes you are reading this correctly, helped the Jazz increase their lead back to 19 points halfway through the quarter. Adelman threw in the towel right around this time, sitting many of the starters. Worth noting quickly, Lazar Hayward saw the court for the first time this season for the Wolves after being brought back to the club on Monday.

    The Wolves dropped tonight’s game 106 – 84. Three Stars of the Game:

    1. Jamaal Tinsley
    2. Paul Millsap
    3. Derrick Favors

    Not an enjoyable game to watch or cover and certainly not how the Wolves wanted to start the New Year.