D’Angelo Russell scored a game-winning layup in the final seconds and finished with 27 points off the bench to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Utah Jazz, 105-104, Monday night in Minneapolis.
It was Minnesota’s second consecutive win over the Jazz (44-17) in three days. The only good news for Utah in that three-day span is that it became the first team to clinch a playoff spot after Sunday’s action.
This victory had some similarities to Saturday’s win in Salt Lake City, with Minnesota falling behind by 18 points (17 on Saturday) but then rallying to take the lead midway through the contest and then holding on to beat the league-leading Jazz.
Once again, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell did not play due to a sprained ankle.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Anthony Edwards and Juancho Hernangomez each scored 14. Naz Reid chipped in 13 points as the T-Wolves (18-44) swept the Jazz 3-0 in their season series.
Mike Conley led the Jazz with 26 points and was positioned to be the game hero after hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer, but the game’s wild finish had more twists. Russell took advantage of a blown defensive assignment by the Jazz, putting the T-Wolves up by one with a wide-open layup with just 4.2 seconds remaining.
Conley then lost the ball after the timeout and the T-Wolves clinched the victory with the Jaden McDaniels steal.
Ersan Ilyasova gave the Jazz their biggest lead at 35-17, but Hernangomez then sparked a 7-0 run. The Jazz went four minutes without scoring in the second quarter and Minnesota eventually overtook them on a 12-0 spurt capped by a Russell 3-pointer.
In the fourth, Reid gave the T-Wolves a 12-point lead with a three-point play at 9:24 before Utah rallied to make things interesting.
Trailing by 10, the Jazz used a 10-0 run with a pair of Rudy Gobert dunks and 3s by Georges Niang and Conley to tie it at 97-97.
Russell then hit a 3 and Edwards made a layup for a seemingly safe 102-97 lead.
Conley found Gobert for an alley-top dunk to make it 102-100 with 18.9 seconds remaining and then, after Towns only made one of two free throws, Conley split a pair of freebies before getting the ball back and hitting his clutch 3.
Gobert finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three blocks, Niang had 14 points and Jordan Clarkson chipped in 13 points despite 5-of-20 shooting.
–Field Level Media