This could be a long 4-6 weeks. The Utah Jazz in their second game without Rudy Gobert—and first one against a playoff team—took a shellacking from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves took full advantage of a Jazz team missing their premier rim protector. The Timberwolves feasted in the paint and Karl Anthony-Towns had a heyday totaling 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The Utah Jazz staged a late comeback in the 4th quarter led by the strong efforts of Donovan Mitchell, Raul Neto, and Jonas Jerebko on the offensive end and defensive efforts of Ekpe Udoh and Donovan Mitchell. Alas, it was too little, too late. The Utah Jazz made enough of a run to make anyone who put money on the game sweat, but not enough to get back into.
It was enough, however, to cause Thibodeau’s blood to boil as he saw his team becoming relaxed and taking plays off as the Jazz climbed out of a 20 point hole. Take a look at Thibs ripping Wiggins after Donovan stole the ball from him.
LOL THIBS SAW IT COMING AND HE LOST HIS MIND pic.twitter.com/897KYgWtot— Taylor Griffin (@griffdunk) November 14, 2017
This was a rough one, but there were some bright spots. Donovan Mitchell—who seems to be the only reason to not lose complete hope in this season—had his fifth 20 point game. He totalled 24 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block. To put that into perspective, Gordon Hayward didn’t have his fifth 20 point game until the last game of his sophomore campaign in the NBA.
Deron Williams didn’t have his 5th 20 point game until midway through his second season. We are in foreign territory with this Jazz rookie. He seems to be retracing the footsteps of Darrell Griffith, so much so that he shall be dubbed Young Frankenstein. I mean, his assistant coach is named Igor, for crying out loud.
We might be getting close to Donovan Mitchell playing significant minutes at point guard because of Ricky Rubio being very not Ricky Rubio. Ricky only had 3 points, 2 assists, and 3 turnovers. This team might not be a good fit for Rubio. You can tell Ricky is out there tryharding to the extreme, but it’s just not falling in place. This feels like when the Jazz traded for Big Al, and though you could tell he was trying his hardest, the pieces didn’t fit right. That could be what the Jazz have here.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 12 of his 24 points tonight scored in the paint. He was loving Rudy Gobert’s absence. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins had 8 points scored in the paint.
This was the Jazz’s last home game before their first East Coast swing. The schedule for Utah is about to become very difficult. Hopefully the Jazz can learn from this blowout, build on their effort from the 4th quarter, and be prepared for this road trip. The Jazz have yet to win one road game this season.
The Utah Jazz fly out to New York to face Enes Kanter & Kristaps Porzingis-led Knicks on Wednesday.