A missed technical free throw is a pretty unlikely candidate for the game's most important game.
And yet, Donovan Mitchell has said he can turn the switch and turn a weak offensive power into a dominant achievement. This culminated in jazz in a second half of 72 points, allowing them to defeat Minnesota for the second consecutive game, 125-111.
After Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns caught the technical foul for loudly complaining about a no-call Ricky Rubio asks Mitchell to take the following free throw to try and get his offensive play going. By this point in the competition, Mitchell had scored just seven points in a 2:1
Mitchell missed the free throw, but then jazz played another piece for him. The guard of the second year went down the lacquer, was tortured, but still made the shot. He converted the And-One and started a series of nine consecutive hits for jazz.
"Even though I missed [the free throw]it was one of the things my teammates want me to be aggressive about," Mitchell said. "If you have teammates who support you that way, it's great. That makes it easy. "
In the remaining 19 minutes, Utah shot 23 out of 30, scoring a total of 61 points. Mitchell had 22 of them in just 10 shots to end the 12th consecutive game of 24 or more with a total of 29 points.
"Donovan began to find some angles in the pick-and-roll," said jazz coach Quin Snyder. "When we attack the rim, all these things open up."
In fact, they did. The jazz had a successful night out of the 3-point range, 15 out of 39 from a distance, led by Jae Cruder's 5-of-10 and Kyle Korver's 3-of-5 shots from the depths.
"Penetration of the dribble that often occurs when you are sucked in and do not care about things at the point of attack," said Minnesota's new 32-year-old coach, Ryan Saunders. "Then we have to help each other and three have to be opened."
Rubio was not only helpful in his ability to get Mitchell up and running. He finished 18 points with 8 of 14 shots and added eight assists. He played 29:50 in the competition, which reflected a minute limit that became much looser as he recovered from the injured thigh injury that cost him six games.
As good as the second half was for Jazz's offense, the first half was a fight They were led by Derrick Favors & # 39; who had worked on the rim, but no one had a particularly good start. The final half of the half was rough from Utah's point of view: Rubio flew a three in the crossbar, Mitchell dropped the rebound, Bayless struck a three, Rudy Gobert hit the Inbounds pass straight and then Bayless beat three. A 9-point jazz lead turned in a hurry in three minutes. Speaking of three: The wolves took the long-range shot very well and finished the 17-of-36 shot from the depths. When jazz fell on screens for typical nasty shooters, Bayless and others paid off jazz. Andrew Wiggins had a rather unusual game with 35 points, while Towns ended up with only 22 and only three in the fourth quarter.
"I just had to concentrate on more without giving it the straight track to the basket," Rudy Gobert said. "We did a good job as a team and kept it off the boards. Just communicate.
The critical fourth quarter was the exact opposite of the collapse on Friday. Rather than lose a big lead at home, the jazz went five points ahead of the 14-point lead, finishing the game, thanks to the unsustainable offense.
This now means nine wins in the last ten games for jazz, bringing the team with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference in sixth place. They are also just three games away from third-placed Oklahoma City Thunder – and three games from ninth place in the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jazz 125, Timberwolves 111
• A second half of 72 points allowed jazz to break away from the wolves and expand the lead despite a defensive performance.
• Donovan Mitchell presses the switch in the middle of the third quarter, converting a 2:13 starting shot to 8 out of 9 points for 29 points.
• After the game, jazz flies home to escape a blizzard in Minneapolis. They fly to Portland on Tuesday.