Mitchell, Jazz coast past Timberwolves
SALT LAKE CITY -- Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and dished out six assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 120-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night, March 14.
Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors each finished with double-doubles for the Jazz. Favors had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Gobert tallied 10 points and 13 boards. Jae Crowder added 18 points off the bench.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 points and collected 12 rebounds before fouling out with 4:13 left. Andrew Wiggins added 14 points. Tyus Jones chipped in 12 points and nine assists.
Minnesota used an 8-0 run to seize a 15-11 lead. Towns punctuated the spurt with back-to-back baskets to put the Timberwolves in front.
Utah closed out the first quarter on an 13-4 run to surge ahead 34-25. The Jazz scored on five straight possessions to fuel the run. Mitchell ignited it with a pair of floaters, one of which became a three-point play. Favors capped it off with an alley-oop dunk of a dish from Joe Ingles.
Utah stayed in front throughout the second quarter after shooting 51 percent from the field during the first half. The Jazz led by as many as 12 points before halftime, going up 45-33 on back-to-back baskets from Gobert and Royce O'Neale, before settling for a 64-55 edge at the break.
Minnesota rallied early in the third quarter. The Timberwolves cut the deficit to 71-70 on consecutive layups from Josh Okogie and Tyus Jones. Mitchell and Crowder answered with back-to-back layups to spark a 10-2 run that put Utah up 81-72 with 3:37 left in the third quarter. Utah entered the fourth leading 91-81.
The Timberwolves cut the deficit to 94-87 on back-to-back layups from Wiggins and Jerryd Bayless early in the fourth quarter. That's as close as Minnesota got. Georges Niang and Joe Ingles each buried a 3-pointer to boost the lead back to double digits.
Utah went up by as many as 24 points, taking a 120-96 lead with 1:21 remaining on back-to-back baskets from Raul Neto.
Before the game, Jazz owner Gail Miller addressed the crowd from the court in response to Monday's incident in which a fan and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook got into a verbal dispute.
"I am extremely disappointed that one of our quote ‘fans' conducted himself in such a way as to offend not only a guest in our arena, but also me personally, my family, our organization, the community, our players and you, as the best fans in the NBA," Miller said as part of a speech that lasted a couple minutes. "This should never happen. We are not a racist community. We believe in treating people with courtesy and respect as human beings."