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D’Angelo Russell takes over late as Timberwolves beat Jazz 118-108 in Rudy Gobert comeback


Friday’s game in Salt Lake City began with Utah Jazz fans giving Rudy Gobert a hero’s welcome. It ended with Wolves giving the Jazz the bum rush.

It was Gobert’s first game where he started his career. And he responded, with a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds. But he wasn’t alone on a night when Wolves’ offense was buzzing and the defense did enough against the NBA’s third-best offensive offense in a 118-108 win.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” Wolves coach Chris Finch told reporters in Utah. “They played well. The Jazz kept coming at us, like we knew they would. But we kept matching them, playing to play, when it mattered. ”

The numbers: D’Angelo Russell had another impressive night. He scored 20 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. In the final 12 minutes he had his seven shots, six three-point shots, almost single-handedly fending off a Jazz side who, playing without two starters, had erased a double-digit Wolves lead, drawn to one close point. three times and were within two with 3:14 to play.

“We have a talented group,” Russell said. “It forces teams to help too much sometimes. And when we’re ready to pass that pass, it opens up opportunities there. … It can be anyone’s night. It was mine tonight.’ ‘

He was not alone. Kyle Anderson, starting place of injured Karl-Anthony Towns, had a Swiss army knife evening. He scored 15 points on 4-on-5 shooting. He had 12 assists, seven rebounds. His fourth quarter block on Kelly Olynyk’s dunk attempt was a marvel. Anderson had seven assists in the fourth quarter, which is why Wolves were so effective against the Jazz zone.

Six Wolves players – including all five starters – scored in double figures on a night where Wolves (13-12) shot 53.3% overall and made 14 of 35 threes while claiming their second straight win .

Utah (15-13) was led by 23 points from Michael Beasley.

Down 15 at halftime, the Jazz shot within three going into the fourth. And despite Russell’s heroism – he scored 12 of Wolves’ first 14 points in the fourth quarter – the Jazz kept coming.

Down an eight after Anthony Edwards hit a three with 4:36 left, Beasley scored, then Olynyk hit a three. After a Wolves turnover, Mike Conley hit a three with 3:14 left. The 8-2 run made it a two-point game.

But on a timeout, Russell hit three more. Wolves got one save and Russell hit three more. And the wolves were gone.

Gobert had eight points in the fourth quarter. Edwards, who struggled with his shooting, scored five of his 14 in the fourth.

Russell, who struggled a bit with his shooting early in the season, has found his groove. Finch said he asked Russell to be more of a table dresser early in the season, which could have caused him to lose his shooting rhythm.

“Honestly, I took the wrong approach,” Russell said. “I was trying to be too focused on being a point guard instead of a basketball player. … It was never really my thing. I just play basketball freely and have fun .”

He had fun on Friday, making quick decisions. With Anderson penetrating the defense and acting like a really great playmaker, Russell made plenty of catches and shots, and every late shot felt true.

Over the last three games, Russell has scored 85 points, shooting 62% overall and making half of his three-point attempts.

“He’s just really locked on his shot right now,” Finch said. “It’s clean when he lets go. The guys did a good job of finding him against that area. He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, which is good to see.”

The Star Tribune did not send the author of this article to the game. It was written using a broadcast, interviews and other documents.

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