The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pekovic, Timberwolves throttle Utah Jazz, 98-72, to snap ugly 3-game losing streak

  • Print

MINNEAPOLIS - The laughter spilled over from the Minnesota Timberwolves bench into the locker room long after the rout was finished, as a team that has been searching for some camaraderie and positivity basked in the blowout.

The reeling Timberwolves needed a game like this in the worst way, and in stepped the Utah Jazz to tee it up for them.

Nikola Pekovic had 27 points and 14 rebounds in three quarters, and the Timberwolves blasted the Jazz, 98-72 on Saturday night.

Kevin Love had 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and Kevin Martin scored 20 points to help the Wolves snap a three-game losing streak that included losses to Sacramento and Toronto. The Wolves scored 28 points off 16 Utah turnovers and outscored the Jazz 50-18 in the paint for a much-needed runaway.

"It's fun when we play like that and everybody communicates," said point guard Ricky Rubio, who had six points, nine assists and eight rebounds.

Alec Burks scored 18 points for the Jazz, who trailed by as many as 36 points and shot 28.8 per cent, the worst shooting night in franchise history. Derrick Favours had eight points and 10 boards, but was just 3 for 10 from the field.

"Right from the beginning we didn't have any pep to us, we didn't have any energy," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We settled for jump shots and they were going to the basket. Give them credit, they were the aggressive team tonight."

The Timberwolves fell a season-low three games under .500 with a dispiriting loss in Toronto on Friday night, and a season that started with playoff aspirations was threatening to be done in by a lack of team chemistry and an inability to win close games. They are 0-11 this season in games decided by four points or less, but also lead the league in games in which they've led by at least 30 points (10).

Promising rookie Trey Burke had just nine points on 2-for-10 shooting for Utah, which was playing again without leading scorer Gordon Hayward (hip flexor). And they've never missed him more.

The Jazz missed 20 of their first 26 shots against the team with the worst field goal percentage defence in the league. With just under nine minutes to play in the first half, Favours went up for a dunk but didn't make it high enough and was rejected by the rim. He grabbed the ball, went straight up again, and missed another dunk off the back iron.

Later in the half, Jeremy Evans missed three straight layups, and the exasperated Jazz just gave in.

"It was horrible," Evans said. "I was telling myself, 'There's no way I'm going to miss these shots.' There's definitely a lid on this thing. That just explains the kind of a night we had."

The Jazz made two field goals in the entirety of their nine-point second quarter and went into halftime trailing by 28 points. They went 8 for 39 in the first two quarters, just 20.5 per cent, and managed a season-low 23 points, the second-lowest scoring half for a Wolves opponent in franchise history.

How bad was it? Pekovic and Martin combined for 39 points midway through the third quarter. The Jazz had 37.

The Timberwolves weren't exactly on fire, either. They shot 44 per cent in the first half and missed eight of 19 free throws. But if any team needed a gimme like this one, it was the Wolves. They had lost four of their previous five games to fall to 11th in the Western Conference and were fighting discord in the locker room and plummeting confidence on the court.

That all changed on Saturday night, with Love and Pekovic rough-housing on the sideline, Martin playing with an aggression that hasn't been seen for a few weeks and Rubio playing with a hop in his step and a smile on his face for the first time in a month.

"We really needed it," Pekovic said. "We tried to push ourselves tonight. We were talking a lot about it. Energy, talking on defence. From the very first moment we stepped on the court I think we looked like we were ready to play."

NOTES: The Jazz's previous franchise low for field goal percentage was 29.3 per cent against New York on Nov. 14, 2005. ... Love hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter that moved him past Wally Szczerbiak for second on the franchise's career list. ... The teams meet again in Utah on Tuesday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google