The Utah Jazz had to stave off the pesky Minnesota Timberwolves for much of the game, before breaking them in the fourth quarter on the way to their 98-85 victory. Both teams were missing big names, the Wolves were without and -- though both aren't really in their long terms plans and haven't played much all season long. The Jazz were missing three guys they would rather play right now in , , and Derrick Favors. Despite the disadvantage there to health and wellness, the Jazz got the job done tonight. Starting in place of Favors was rookie . The Maple Mamba came out shooting and would end up scoring 17 first half points on a variety of moves, and his aggressive play forced Sam Mitchell into adjusting his strategy. I'm not kidding, Mitch had to take a timeout a minutes into the game after Lyles started it off with a three to educate Gorgui Dieng. Dieng would only play 11 minutes in this game as had to do his best.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself here.
In the first quarter Utah started it off with a pair of Lyles threes, but didn't really get much separation thanks toand fighting back whenever Utah would go on a run. Wiggins had 10 of the Wolves' last 12 points in that quarter! The second quarter was a slugfest with the Jazz defense killing anything the Wolves tried, but at the same time, Utah really wasn't getting much going for them either. The Wolves would have gone into halftime leading if not for a buzzer beater by .
HOOD AT THE HORN! https://t.co/z7Q2sVwBOc— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 2, 2016
After 24 minutes the Jazz were up 51-49.
In an effort to spend more time off the computer let's be brief here. Utah won the third 26-19 and the fourth 21-17, and Minnesota's will to fight was extinguished very early in the final frame. There would be no comeback tonight. There would be no death by missed free throws (for the record, Utah did only make 14 of their 23, a hair above 60%). In fact, the fans got free Chick-Fil-A today because the Wolves couldn't get it going from the line. (They usually do, but only went there 10 times tonight.)
Lyles was hot early, but would only score one more point the rest of the way -- despite numerous attempts late. That's fine., Rodney Hood, and did most of the second half scoring. And was just a wall tonight, and got free for a number of second chance opportunities. It was refreshing to see him actually do Rudy things again.
The Jazz bench didn't do much except rebound missed shots. But overall the team did enough to make sure to win. That's important on a night the Houston Rockets aren't playing, and a night where the Dallas Mavericks win. It's good to get a win when key players are out, and that's what the team did. Gordon Hayward took control in the fourth and bullied his way to the basket -- and bullied the Wolves into another loss. (1-3 vs. Utah the last two years .)
It's just trivia, but Utah has no won three games in a row on April Fool's day, and are 10-6 going all the way back to 1987.
Utah is now .500 again and play next on Sunday at the Phoenix Suns.