Ricky Rubio finally got his revenge against his former team in front of the fans that had his back for so many years. Rubio led the charge against the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Utah Jazz won 121-97 in Minnesota. Ricky was masterful as he went for 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block against his former team. Rubio’s former teammate Andrew Wiggins had 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in the loss.
In the last game these two teams matched up in, it became less of a basketball game and more of a sparring match as both teams got involved in extracurriculars—or as Andy Larsen would put it—a kerfuffle. This game started out as a competitive back and forth, and then the bench checked in toward the end of the 1st quarter and led Utah to their first lead. Once the 2nd quarter started, the bench stretched that lead out to double digits and the Utah Jazz never looked back. Led by big efforts by Dante Exum, Jae Crowder, Royce O’Neale and Jonas Jerebko. The Utah Jazz’s bench before garbage time combined for 41 points.
OBLIGATORY DANTE EXUM UPDATE: Dante Exum continued his excellent return from injury as he posted 13 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal in only 17 minutes. AND HE’S ALL OURS.
While Ricky Rubio is going to get all the press today—AS HE SHOULD—Derrick Favors was the unsung hero of this game. He had 16 points and provided some stout defense alongside Rudy Gobert for much of the game. He was instrumental in Utah capturing the lead in the first quarter and pushing that lead out in the second quarter.
Ricky Rubio was busy pushing the pace and absolutely taking advantage of the Jeff Teague sized hole in Minnesota’s defense. Tyus Jones had a rough time containing Ricky Rubio. This was Ricky Rubio’s night. Once again Minnesota Timberwolves fans will be blaming Ricky Rubio for a loss; the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Donovan Mitchell quietly—if you can even say such a thing—scored 21 points on 10 of 15 shooting. The rookie phenom added 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. This was his ninth straight game in a row with 20+ points or more. That’s a Utah Jazz rookie record. He also has 43 20+ point games this season. That puts him only one game behind Kevin Durant who had 44 20+ point games in his rookie year.
The Utah Jazz have a day off before they face off against the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Tuesday evening.
The Utah Jazz now find themselves in 6th place in the West only half a game behind the Thunder for 5th and one game behind San Antonio for 4th. The 5th seed might be attainable, but right now San Antonio controls their destiny. Amazing that the Spurs have stayed in the playoff race. Popovich is a dark wizard.
Rudy Gobert might not have had the best offensive game, but he was a beast defensively. He finished with 6 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks. His defense is next level.
With the blowout, none of the Utah Jazz starters surpassed 32 minutes. That’s incredibly helpful this late in the season.
We end with this.