Mitchell scores 28, Jazz ease past Timberwolves 128-116
Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points and the Utah Jazz beat the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves 128-116 on Thursday night.
Rudy Gobert had 20 points and 17 rebounds, Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points and Mike Conley scored 17 points as the Jazz won for the 10th time in 12 games.
Seven Timberwolves — comprising most of the team’s core — were inactive due to health and safety protocols: Patrick Beverly, Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony Towns, Jarred Vanderbilt, Josh Okogie, Taurean Prince and McKinley Wright.
Malik Beasley scored a season-high 33 points and D’Angelo Russell had 19 and matched a career-high with 14 assists for Minnesota.
Utah’s usually stingy defense was missing much of the game. Gobert challenged shots at the basket and had four blocks, but the Timberwolves were a step ahead of the Jazz rotations throughout.
Minnesota made 17 3s and shot 38% from long range, despite going cold in the fourth quarter.
At the other end, the Jazz were able to get whatever they wanted with a bevy of lobs, drives to the basket and wide-open 3-pointers. Utah shot 53% from the field.
Bogdanovic hit four 3s in the third quarter to help the Jazz push the lead to 15 points once, and 14 points on another occasion. The Timberwolves kept battling back.
Timberwolves had won four in a row before the coronavirus started taking its toll. They were short-handed in a 114-105 loss to Dallas on Tuesday.
The Jazz have yet to have any players in the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Jazz have lost four home games by a total of 10 points to teams with lesser records over the last month. So, when Beasley made a 27-foot jumper to pull Minnesota within seven points with 5:30 left, it seemed like history repeating.
But Utah relied on its experience. Gobert and Mitchell made tough shots in the lane, and Conley hit a pair of 3s to make it 122-109 with two minutes remaining.
Timberwolves: With 10:36 to play, Naz Reid caught a Gobert elbow to the head and went down in a heap. An official review resulted in a flagrant 1 foul on Gobert. … Minnesota scored 21 points on Utah’s 15 turnovers. … In his first start, Jake Layman reached season-high marks of 13 points and seven rebounds.
Jazz: Joe Ingles got a technical after he took exception to the way Layman fouled him in the second quarter. … Biggest cheer of the night came with 3:22 left until halftime as Jordan Clarkson dunked in traffic to beat the shot clock after he missed his first six shots. He was mobbed by his teammates. … Ingles had 16 points and a season-high three steals.