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Jazz vs Timberwolves recap: Utah looks directionless up north

Defense still a problem as Jazz fall, 123-95 to the Timberwolves

NBA: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

When I was a teenager in the dark days before my parents got Wi-Fi, I listened to a lot of late-night sports radio, including one hosted by JT “The Brick” and Tom Looney. Looney would read the scores whenever they were coming back from commercial break, and if the Jazz lost he’d say “The [basketball team] ‘Thelonius Monk’ the Jazz, 98-85. . .” Well, tonight the Wolves thoroughly Thelonius Monked the Jazz.

The Jazz started the game as they finished—poorly. The Wolves couldn’t miss, starting 8-9 from the field. The Jazz didn’t see any good looks inside and bricked their shots from outside. The Wolves built a 23-12 lead. Then Lauri Markkanen started to turn things around, hitting three shots from deep in quick succession, including this one over Karl Anthony-Towns:

Ochai Agbagi hit another three, cutting the deficit to 27-29, and the Jazz closed the quarter on a 13-6 run.

In the 2nd quarter, the Jazz played somewhat small, playing three guards (Keyonte George, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Ochai Agbaji) and two bigs. (Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler). THT did his thing, recording a wild block, a pair of acrobatic layups, and a three-pointer. Meanwhile, the Wolves went cold from downtown.

The quarter ended like this: Anthony Edwards came off a KAT pick and got to the rack untouched. Kelly Olynyk temporarily forgot how to play basketball, leading to a KAT dunk. Lauri bricked a 3, the Wolves passed the ball off of Rudy Gobert’s hands and Kelly Olynyk out of bounds, and Mike Conley shot a floater to nowhere on the inbounds. Utah had 9 seconds to score, but took to long to get a shot up—the Wolves had a foul to give and Kyle Anderson used it with .7 seconds left.

The third quarter started off with the Jazz and Wolves trading buckets, but the wheels fell off around the 6:32 mark, when KAT and Conley hit back-to-back threes. From there it was a shellacking, and the Jazz found themselves on the wrong end of a 15-2 run, and were down by 16 when the dust of the third quarter settled.

The 4th quarter was like the first quarter if they’d just played the first 9 minutes over and over again. The Wolves looked great, and the Jazz looked silly. Both teams put in the “up-20, down-20 lineup,” and the rout was on. Essentially, the Jazz looked like everyone had picked up THT’s offensive ability and James Harden’s defensive prowess.

The starters went 25-67 from the floor. The bench wasn’t much better, hitting 10 of 24 shots.

The next game is in Chicago, in which the Jazz will face a Bulls team who are better than their record indicates. All that Will Hardy can do after this one is rally the troops, help them shake it off, and maybe give Keyonte George a few more minutes with the starters on the guard line.