Wiggins, Towns lead Timberwolves past Jazz
MINNEAPOLIS — Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a nail-biting 100-97 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night, Oct. 20.
Jimmy Butler added 13 points for Minnesota, which overcame 26 turnovers and was just 7 of 22 from 3-point territory.
Jamal Crawford provided the big closing flurry that made him so attractive as a free agent for the Timberwolves with 17 points, all in the fourth quarter.
Rodney Hood led Utah with 20 points but had to be carried off the floor by teammates in the fourth quarter after suffering a left leg injury. Hood was unable to put any pressure on the leg.
Ricky Rubio had 19 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, making his way back to Minnesota after playing six seasons for the Timberwolves. Rubio was announced first for Utah before the game and received a standing ovation while waving to the crowd.
Rubio tied the score 95-all with 1:03 remaining. Rubio connected on three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer by Jeff Teague, who replaced Rubio as Minnesota's point guard. Rubio stole the ball and was fouled, hitting 1 of 2 free throws.
Out of a timeout, Crawford hit a 3 from the sideline with 27.5 seconds left. Butler closed out the game with two free throws and Joe Johnson's shot at the buzzer was short.
Rubio was traded in the offseason as Minnesota overhauled its starting unit with Butler, power forward Taj Gibson and point guard Jeff Teague.
Wiggins, the third-year holdover, has led the team in scoring in both games. He gave the Timberwolves a jolt heading into halftime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
With Gordon Hayward leaving for Boston, Utah hoped for more offensively from Hood. The third-year swingman gave the Jazz the lead temporarily, scoring nine straight points on three 3s in the third.
NOTES: Utah coach Quin Snyder said G Raul Neto (hamstring) was available, but Neto didn't play for the second straight game as rookie Donovan Mitchell was the backup point guard. G Dante Exum was out with a left shoulder injury. F/G Rodney Hood returned after missing the opener with an illness. ... Jazz G/F Joe Johnson scored four points and passed Tom Chambers for 40th on the NBA's career scoring list. ... Minnesota G Jamal Crawford hit a 3-pointer to take sole possession for sixth in NBA history in 3-pointers made with 2,051. He's sixth among all active players in games played (1,183). ... Friday's game marked the first in the remodeled Target Center, complete with a new court, scoreboard and an overall brighter feel.