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Utah at Minnesota

T-Wolves clamp down on D, use balanced offense to stop Jazz

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves hope Randy Foye can become a cornerstone player as they continue to rebuild. To get there, he'll have to be more consistent.

Al Jefferson and Rashad McCants scored 22 points, Foye added a season-high 20, and the Timberwolves beat the Utah Jazz 111-100 on Tuesday night.

"We just have to be patient," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "There's probably going to be another down before there's another up with Randy. This game is all rhythm and confidence and he hasn't really had any until tonight."

Minnesota forced 24 turnovers and held the Jazz to 6-for-21 shooting in the final quarter to snap a two-game losing streak and get its first win against the Northwest Division.

"We just turned the ball over a tremendous amount of times. I couldn't believe the way we were turning the ball over," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "To me that's a sign that you're not really into the game when you have those things happen. But you've got to give them credit, they outplayed us. They got their hands on us. They knocked us around."

The Wolves took a 97-82 lead with just under four minutes left after a behind-the-back move by Craig Smith set up a McCants layup.

"That goes back to my playground days in Los Angeles," Smith said.

Carlos Boozer had 34 points and Deron Williams finished with 18 points and nine assists for the Jazz. Mehmet Okur had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"You get up for some games more than others, but you still got to bring it," Williams said. "You got to bring energy and bring intensity. It's about not being selfish and helping each other out, and I don't think we did that today as a team."

Foye rebounded from a dismal performance in Sunday's loss to Dallas in which he scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting. If the Wolves want to be playoff spoilers down the stretch, they will need Foye's perimeter scoring to complement Jefferson inside.

"Good game or bad game, you just have to keep working," Foye said.

Foye, the Wolves' first-round draft choice last year, has averaged a little more than nine points and shot below 37 percent in the 12 games since returning from a knee injury. Smith, Minnesota's second-round pick last year, understands the importance of young players establishing a rhythm.

"He's just trying to find it," Smith said. "I think he's done a good job so far and I think he's getting better every day."

Boozer was held to just five points in the fourth quarter after scoring 17 in the first half and 12 in the third quarter.

Utah is trying its best not to get lost in the shuffle in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The Jazz are 20-5 since acquiring Kyle Korver in a trade with Philadelphia on Dec. 29 and sit atop the Northwest. It also suffered a puzzling loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

"Denver's been losing so we have a chance to spread that lead out, but we're not making the most of it," Williams said. "We saw New Orleans is falling, some other teams are falling, and we should be climbing up with these two wins, instead it's two losses to teams that aren't even in the playoffs."

Utah will have to play better away from Energy Solutions Arena down the stretch to lock up a top seed for the playoffs. The Jazz are 12-18 on the road after falling to Minnesota, but have won their last 14 at home.

Minnesota made 28 of 39 free throws against Utah, both season highs. It also scored 39 points in the fourth quarter, another season high.

Ryan Gomes had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Jefferson also had 10 boards for the Wolves.

Notes

  • Kirk Snyder, acquired in a deadline deal with Houston, made his Wolves debut with 2:47 left in the first quarter. He finished with six points and three assists.
  • Utah and Minnesota play each other three more times in the next month.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Rashad McCants has the Jazz ducking for cover while he scores 22 points for Minnesota.  (Getty Images)
Rashad McCants has the Jazz ducking for cover while he scores 22 points for Minnesota. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Utah (36-21) 25222528100
Minnesota (12-43) «27252039111
UTA:C. Boozer 34 Pts
UTA:M. Okur 11 Reb
UTA:D. Williams 9 Ast
MIN:A. Jefferson 22 Pts
MIN:R. Gomes 11 Reb
MIN:S. Telfair 4 Ast
Players of the Game
MinnesotaUtah

R. Gomes

C. Boozer
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
201123483
Utah
C. Boozer, PF389-1616-1883334
M. Okur, C373-102-2112511
D. Williams, PG365-127-829418
A. Kirilenko, SF323-100-22547
R. Brewer, SG242-43-43327
M. Harpring, SF224-72-230310
P. Millsap, PF212-50-04144
K. Korver, SF182-30-03015
R. Price, PG122-20-03304
J. Hart, PGDid Not Play
J. Collins, CDid Not Play
C. Miles, SGDid Not Play
M. Almond, SGDid Not Play
K. Fesenko, CDid Not Play
Totals 32-6930-36392626100
 46.4%83.3% 
Minnesota
A. Jefferson, PF407-178-10102322
R. Foye, PG368-162-232320
R. Gomes, PF317-155-6112220
S. Telfair, PG293-104-634412
C. Brewer, SF131-50-02032
R. McCants, SG348-175-852322
K. Snyder, SG242-31-42306
C. Smith, PF192-43-37347
T. Ratliff, C130-10-00050
C. Richard, PF10-00-00010
A. Walker, SFDid Not Play
G. Buckner, SGDid Not Play
M. Doleac, CDid Not Play
M. Jaric, SFDid Not Play
M. Madsen, PFDid Not Play
Totals 38-8828-39431828111
 43.2%71.8% 
Other Games
Sac 86 Final
Mia 107
Orl 102 Final
NJ 92
Cle 102 Final
Mil 105
Pho 127 Final
Mem 113
Wash 69 Final
Hou 94
Sea 99 Final
GS 105
Port 83 Final
LAL 96