MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 105, UTAH JAZZ 104
April 26, 2021
• D’Angelo Russell led the way for the Timberwolves tonight, including scoring the game-winning layup with 4.2 seconds remaining. Russell finished with a game-high 27 points, on 10-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-12 from deep and a game-high 12 assists, good for his 18th career 20+ point/10+ assist game (second of the season). Of his 27 points, 15 of them came in the in the second quarter alone, as he tallied a season-high-tying six three-pointers, the fifth time in his career hitting 6+ treys in the first half.
• Russell’s six threes in the first half tied the Timberwolves franchise record for most threes in a half and is approaching the franchise for three-pointers in a game of 8 (Stephon Marbury at Seattle, 12/23/97; Kevin Love at San Antonio, 12/13/13).
• Russell’s 27 points and 12 assists make him the third Timberwolves reserve player to have a 20+ point/10+ assists game, joining J.J. Barea (2012) and Mo Williams (2015). Of the three instances in Timberwolves history, Russell scored the most points in a 20+ point/10+ assist performance off the bench.
• Karl-Anthony Towns registered 21 points, including 13 points in third quarter, on 7-of-13 shooting and 11 rebounds, marking his 23rd 20+ point/10+ rebound game of the season (202nd career). Since entering the league in 2015-16, no other player in the NBA has more 20+ point/10+ rebound games (Giannis Antetokounmpo, 194)
• With his one triple tonight, Towns has now connected on at least one three-pointer in 75 straight games, extending the longest streak by a Timberwolves player in franchise history.
• In 34:27 minutes of play, Jaden McDaniels grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and added six points.
• Trailing by 18 points with 11:29 in the second quarter, the Timberwolves came back to win for the sixth time this season when trailing 15+ points (all since the All-Star Break). Minnesota’s six wins this season, after trailing by at least 15 points, are the most in one season for the Timberwolves since 1997-98 (when play-by-play began being tracked). Minnesota had five such wins in 2007-08 and 2018-19. It’s the second-most in the league this season: Portland (7), Minnesota (6), New York (5).
• Per Elias Sports, tonight’s 15+ point comeback marked the first time since 1997-98 that the Timberwolves have had consecutive 15+ point comebacks against the same team. The last time Minnesota won consecutive games in which it trailed by 15+ points in each was Dec. 3 & 5, 2018 (against Houston and Charlotte).
• With tonight’s victory against the Jazz, Minnesota sweeps the season-series with Utah (3-0) for the first time in franchise history.
• Minnesota’s defense held the Jazz to 38.9% (37-of-95) from the field, the fifth sub-.400 performance by an opponent this season (second time against the Jazz).
• Led by Russell’s 27 points, the Timberwolves reserves outscored Utah’s bench 54-37, marking the 17th game of the season tallying 50+ points off the bench. Minnesota ranks second in the NBA in bench scoring (40.8 ppg).
• Minnesota tallied 16 triples tonight, their 21st game of the season with 15+ made threes.
• Mike Conley paced Utah tonight, finishing with a team-high 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
TIMBERWOLVES HEAD COACH CHRIS FINCH
On the defensive effort by the team…
“I mean our defense is really starting to take shape. I mean that was seven straight quarters of good defense. The first quarter they didn’t build their lead by poor defense, we just couldn’t score. I thought we were getting some pretty good looks in there, we just didn’t have it. We struggled to make plays, make layups, make open shots, but we kept guarded and that’s a tribute to us at times when we struggled to score. We have gotten lax defense but we kept guarded and even though they finished with 33 first quarter points, I didn’t really think that it was the defenses fault, I though offensively, we couldn’t really find a rhythm.”
On D’Angelo Russell…
“I mean he obviously has the ability to get hot, create his own offense. He was feeling it, he hit the deep ones and then that opened up the floor really for others. He did a really good job out there, guarded too. He was really solid and at times really impacted defensively.
TIMBERWOLVES GUARD D’ANGELO RUSSELL
On the go-ahead basket in the last few seconds…
“I mean, it’s the situation, a lot of go-ahead buckets don’t come from being on the side, trying to execute from side out of bounds, I give coach a lot of credit for that one. He drew up a hell of a play, kinda predetermined what they were going to do, as far as switching and what not, forced them to miscommunicate and allowed me to be open, so I give the credit to coach.”
On putting a win streak together…
“I mean we are building. It gives something for us to build off of. I mean we got all the excuses in the world to say way we are not what we are supposed to be, but you get a glimpse of it, with a taste of us winning here and there. You know it is executing down the stretch, something to build on, just taking those small positives out of each game, especially when we win.”
TIMBERWOLVES CENTER KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS
On how he adjusted his defense in the second half…
“You know what, the game will tell me. They, right away, obviously it is like a playoff series because they adjusted. They didn’t even give me a chance to catch the ball before doubling, so it made me more of just a playmaker, having to make plays or be a decoy and just utilize the attention that I was getting to our advantage and it did, it got some people wide open shots, JO got some wide open threes, spaced the floor out, gave us great shots, great looks every time down and we made the plays when we needed to but our defense is really what helped us a lot because first quarter, we were playing a lot of half court sets and it led to them getting some fast breaks and some threes and then second quarter I think we did a great job of moving and getting some good shots and made them have to slow down. Against them in these last two games, we played really well in the half-court set, so it gave us a chance to utilize our strengths.”
On D’Angelo Russell tonight…
“Yeah, he is special. I think there is no question about it. I think we all in this media postgame, know how special he is offensively and I think what I am more proud of him, is the defensive effort he gave tonight, playing really smart, just talking a lot, just being a leader, being a great leader, telling people where to go, telling the young guys where to go, telling everyone in transition where to go. He was fantastic all night on both sides of the basketball.”
(info courtesy of Timberwolves)