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Timberwolves lose to Jazz as former draft pick Walker Kessler goes 20-20


Rudy Gobert didn’t last long in the third rematch against his former team, but the players Wolves traded to Utah to get Gobert here did.

Gobert was taken out in the first quarter of Monday afternoon’s game with right groin pain that caused him to leave Saturday’s game early.

Each of those former Wolves played a role in Utah’s 126-125 win at Target Center.

Jarred Vanderbilt provided his usual brand of hustle and bustle with 15 points, eight rebounds while Malik Beasley (10 points) gave Utah a 123-120 lead with two minutes remaining.

But no one had a bigger impact on Monday’s game than Walker Kessler, the player Wolves drafted 22nd overall last summer, introduced at a press conference and then quickly traded for Gobert.

The Auburn center had 20 points and 21 rebounds in a very Gobert-like performance that Utah has grown accustomed to seeing and Wolves fans would love to see on a regular basis.

Jordan Clarkson hit one of two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining to put Utah ahead 126-125. Wolves called time out with 3.9 seconds remaining to set up the final shot.

Anthony Edwards (29 points) beat an open Jaden McDaniels into the right corner, and McDaniels hit the front of the rim and missed time out.

Wolves’ three-point shot carried them through in the first half. In fact, they shot better from deep early (10 for 21) than from inside the arc (11 for 28). Edwards started 1 for 8 but Russell took over with 17 points in the first half.

Gobert left the game after his first shift due to right groin pain which also caused him to quit Saturday’s game. It meant long minutes for Naz Reid and Luka Garza on the bench.

Wolves took advantage of cold Utah in the second quarter from three-point range (1 for 11) and because of that, they were able to extend their lead to 11 in the first half. They led 58-52 at halftime before the Jazz finally caught them at 4:23 of the third.

Fortunately for Wolves, Edwards started after half-time. He attacked Kessler on multiple possessions for six points and finished with 17 in the quarter. His play propelled Wolves to a 95-87 lead after three.

But with Edwards on the bench to start that fourth, that lead evaporated within the first four minutes of the fourth, and the game was tied at 104-104.

startribune Gt Itly

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