The Minnesota Timberwolves masterful first quarter paced Tom Thibadeau's team as they spoiled Ricky Rubio's first game against his former mates, holding him to three points and only two assists on 1-7 shooting, as the Wolves won 109-98.
1. Let's talk about that wondrous first quarter. The Timberwolves scored 33 points in the quarter, held the Jazz under 20 points (they only mustered 14), while hitting three of seven three pointers, and holding the Jazz to zero threes, shooting 0-6 for the quarter. Overall the Wolves shot 47.4% from the field (9-19) while holding the Jazz to a paltry 6-20 from the field or 30% as a 4-3 deficit quickly turned into a 15-3 lead into the eventual 33-14 lead to end the first.
2. The Wolves only played nine guys as opposed to their customary ten with Gorgui Dieng out, but they didn't need their bench in this one as their starters all reached double-figures, combining to score 93 of the 109 points. Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 24 and 12, as Jeff Teague scored 22, hitting four three-pointers, Jimmy Butler scored 21 and had 10 assists, and Taj Gibson also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Andrew Wiggins scoring only 11 but notching two steals and two blocks.
3. As a team the Wolves won multiple important categories. They hit 50% of their three pointers, going 10-20 as Utah went 14-40. The Wolves also shot an astounding 29 free throws, making 25 which is over two times more than the 11 the Jazz took. On that note, the Wolves also only committed 13 fouls as that trend continues so far this season, and they collected 22 assists on 37 made shots, and held the Jazz to 44% shooting.
1. Although the Wolves didn't need the offensive production from their bench, the fact their bench could only score 16 points is concerning. This is doubly concerning when you see that the Jazz scored 49 off the bench, largely keeping their team in the game.
2. The Wolves did a great job largely shutting down passing wizards Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles, but they couldn't slow down rookie Donovan Mitchell who scored 24, or Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, and Thabo Sefolosha would score 16, 11, and 13 off of the bench.
3. Although they won the game, a negative will always be losing the turnover battle. The Wolves do a pretty good job of limiting their turnovers (averaging 15.8 per game, good for 15th in the league) but moving forward a goal must always be to limit free throws, which they are doing very well, winning the turnover battle (they lost it in this game 17-15) and owning the paint both on the glass, and scoring (the Wolves won the rebounding battle 40-31, but lost the scoring battle 44-42).
The Wolves take this quality win and head back home for Wednesday night's game at 7:00 p.m. as they play the San Antonio Spurs for the second time this season.