22 October 2022
MINNEAPOLIS — Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range to lead Utah’s rally, and the Jazz outlasted former teammate Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves 132-126 in overtime Friday night.
Lauri Markkanen had 24 points and 13 rebounds and got a leaner in the lane to fall with 12 seconds left in the extra period to put the Jazz up by four.
Mike Conley gave the Jazz the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 1:01 left. Gobert had a dunk foiled by a foul on Conley with 34 seconds to go, and he missed both free throws to finish with nine points and 23 rebounds.
Anthony Edwards scored 30 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and D’Angelo Russell added 23 points including the tying jumper with 4.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Nowell pitched in 18 points for the Timberwolves, who led by as many as 17 points in the first half.
Clarkson and Kelly Olynyk — who had 21 points — made a pair of 3-pointers apiece during a 12-2 spurt that gave the Jazz a 120-113 lead, but they didn’t score over the final 1:54 of regulation.
Gobert’s three-point play with 44 seconds to go brought the Timberwolves within two, when he grabbed his own miss, drew the foul on Olynyk and let out a primal scream from the flex pose.
When Markkanen missed a jumper on the other end, Olynyk was called for a foul in the rebound tangle with Towns. Russell faked Conley to the floor with a killer crossover to set up his pull-up bank shot that tied the game.
The Timberwolves turned a 16-point lead into a six-point deficit during the third quarter in their season-opening win over Oklahoma City, and they came out of halftime with another janky performance against the Jazz with unforced errors and awkward shots that killed the fast-breaking success they enjoyed in the first half.
The trade that sent Gobert to Minnesota and a package of four players and five first-round draft picks to Utah was only part of the offseason makeover for the Jazz, who made the playoffs in each of the last six years but never made it past the second round.
Gobert’s good friends, Clarkson, Conley and Rudy Gay, remained — he met them for dinner the night before — but the rest of the roster was unrecognizable to the 7-foot-1 native of France whose first nine seasons in the NBA were with Utah. The new faces included new coach Will Hardy, who’s just four years older than Gobert.
After an eye-opening 21-point victory in their home opener over Denver, the Jazz delivered a promising follow-up against another 2022 playoff team. They trailed 15-3 out of the gate and by 16 points midway through the second quarter, before Markkanen and Olynyk began giving the Timberwolves a fair fight in the paint with help from Jarred Vanderbilt and rookie Walker Kessler.
Malik Beasley and Vanderbilt were two of the key role players Minnesota sent to Utah for Gobert, and their return to Minnesota was acknowledged with a brief welcome during pregame introductions. Rookie Walker Kessler got one from the public address announcer, too, even though he spent only one full day in Minnesota and barely a week on the roster after he was drafted out of Auburn and included in the trade as one of the first-rounders.
Jazz: Vanderbilt had four points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes. … Beasley had 15 points including two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Timberwolves: Towns is 11 for 27 from the floor in two games. … Sixth man Kyle Anderson left with back spasms in the first quarter after playing just 38 seconds. He did not return to the bench.
Jazz: Play at New Orleans on Sunday night on the second stop of a three-game trip.
Timberwolves: Play at Oklahoma City on Sunday night, before three more home games next week.
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Author: CBS Minnesota