SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 30: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz shoots against the Minnesota Timberwolves at EnergySolutions Arena on December 30, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by R. Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
AP Photo
December 31, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Shabazz Muhammad made yet another 3-pointer and turned to the Utah bench, flashing a `3 goggles' gesture.

The Jazz got mad and then they got even.

''I don't think any of us were happy about that. But we should be able to get mad without people doing stuff like that,'' said Gordon Hayward, who added that their late-game play did all the talking.

Hayward scored 11 of his 26 points in the final four minutes to help the Utah Jazz rally to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-94 on Tuesday night.

Muhammad scored a career-best 30 points, including a jumper to lift the Timberwolves to a 92-84 lead with 4:22 to play. But it was his 3-pointer and taunt a few possessions earlier that irked the Jazz.

''Yeah, we took that personally. When he did that, each of our guys started taking their own matchups personally and we all came out and played harder,'' said Derrick Favors, who had 15 points.

Trey Burke set a career-high with 26 points to overcome the loss of starting guard Alec Burks. Before the game it was announced that Burks would have shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season.

In the final three minutes, the Timberwolves scored just once -- a Gorgui Deng layup -- while committing three turnovers, missing two free throws and allowing the Jazz to score at will.

''We were kind of panicking on offense,'' said Muhammad. ''We are a young team and we need to learn how to slow down in the last three minutes.''

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points but the Timberwolves have lost nine in a row -- their worst skid since losing 11 consecutive games from March 30-April 17, 2012.

Meanwhile the Jazz have won six of eight games, extending their best stretch of the season. Utah's defense, which is near the bottom of league, has made big strides.

''It was really just defense,'' Utah coach Quin Snyder said. ''It seems everybody made a play on the defensive end whether they were the actual player that deflected the ball and stole it, someone who pressured the pass or someone who denied the pass. The defense created a couple easy baskets and gave us a boost.''

Reserve point guard Mo Williams sparked a Timberwolves rally in the third quarter with three straight jumpers and then had a couple assists to start the fourth. Minnesota's blazing 10-0 start in the final period gave the Wolves an 82-72 lead on Muhammad's back-to-back 3-pointers.

But the Timberwolves, who have the worst record in the Western Conference, came up empty again when the Jazz increased the pressure and got the crowd into the game.

''They got aggressive and we didn't match their intensity. We played more not to lose than to win,'' Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said.



Timberwolves: The Wolves played without injured starters Ricky Rubio (ankle), Nikola Pekovic (foot and wrist) and Kevin Martin (wrist). . Minnesota has dropped nine straight on the road for the first time since Feb. 22-March 21, 2013. . The Timberwolves had 26 assists on 38 baskets and outscored the Jazz in the paint, 42-36.

Jazz: Enes Kanter grabbed 10 rebounds in his first 12 minutes of play and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. ... As Utah held onto a 95-94 lead, Burke was called for a charge but the call was changed to a blocking foul on Thaddeus Young after officials reviewed the play on video. ... Utah's largest lead of the game was the final score.


Even though Burks faced surgery the next morning, he was out on the court with his teammates hoisting one-handed shots before the game and smiling. He had many opportunities to sit out games when the shoulder was painful but chose to play through unless the training staff held him out, Snyder said.


Snyder called a fourth-quarter timeout when the Jazz were trailing by 10 and said nothing. ''We knew what he was saying without him saying anything. He was encouraging us all game . but he wanted us to figure it out on our own at that point. He was tired of talking. We understood the message,'' Burke said.


Timberwolves: Host Sacramento on Thursday.

Jazz: Host Atlanta on Friday.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)