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News » Jazz win streak ends with a thud


Jazz win streak ends with a thud


Jazz win streak ends with a thud Minneapolis ? With a week of games against the Spurs, Lakers, Magic and Lakers (again), the last thing the Jazz could afford was losing to a 2-17 Minnesota Timberwolves team that had dropped nine consecutive games at Target Center before Saturday.

Yet the Jazz suffered just such an ignominious fate, falling 108-101 to end their four-game winning streak, and now must start a season-defining stretch by first searching for answers about what went wrong against the Western Conference's worst team.

The Jazz gave up an 11-0 run going into halftime and watched as the Wolves scored on 11 of their final 12 possessions of the game, including seven in a row down the stretch as part of a 35-point fourth quarter.

"It's very tough," said Deron Williams, who had 18 points and 11 assists. "We wanted to make it five in a row, we wanted to get this one on the road where we've struggled the last couple years. We've just got to let it go and just focus on these next ones now."

In a span of six days, beginning Monday, the Jazz will play Orlando and the Lakers -- who met in last season's NBA Finals -- as well as the Spurs, whom the Jazz already have beaten twice this season.

Minnesota came into Saturday scoring an average of 91.4 points on 43.5 percent shooting, yet totaled 108 points and shot 57.1 percent against the Jazz . Seven Wolves scored in double figures, led by Ryan Gomes with 23 points on 9-for-10 shooting.

"I thought this was a game we could have won and [to] let it slip out of our hands the way we did feels worse with what their season's been like," said Carlos Boozer, who finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds but most notably six turnovers.

Never mind that Minnesota also was playing the second game of a back-to-back set, the Jazz dropped to 1-3 in such circumstances this season, following last season's woeful 3-18 mark.

They appeared headed for an easy night at the start of the second quarter. The Jazz (11-8) opened the period with a lineup of Eric Maynor, Ronnie Brewer, C.J Miles, Paul Millsap and Mehmet Okur, and built a 12-point lead off a 12-2 run.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan even opted to stick with the lineup coming out of a timeout with 4:53 left in the quarter. He said afterward that he considered riding the unit until halftime but elected to bring back Williams and Boozer for the last four minutes.

"I thought I had the guys that rested there and should be able to come in the ball game and at least handle the situation to finish out the half," Sloan said. "But we had a terrible finish with it."

The Jazz led 50-36 with 3:30 left but didn't score the rest of the way as Minnesota rode an 11-0 run into the half. Corey Brewer capped things by stripping Boozer of the ball and going in for a dunk with 26.7 seconds left as Minnesota closed to 50-47.

"It gave them a lot of confidence," Williams said. "They kind of took it and ran with it."

The Jazz opened the second half with Boozer committing three turnovers in a span of 90 seconds while Minnesota ran for two layups and a dunk at the other end. The Timberwolves scored 25 points off the Jazz's 14 turnovers.

"It wasn't like they were beating us to death defensively to be able to get it," Sloan said. "We just threw the ball to them. But give them credit. I thought they played well and stayed after it. That was the thing, I didn't think we did a very good job of staying after it."

The Jazz went into the fourth quarter tied 73-73 but trailed 85-79 after Al Jefferson's three-point play with 8:24 left. Jefferson had made just 3 of 11 shots through three quarters but had nine points and went 4-of-8 in the fourth.

Even the Jazz's patented inbounds play lob to Williams went awry in the fourth. They closed to 95-91 off Wesley Matthews' three-pointer with 3:46 to play, but Jefferson scored in the post, Boozer threw away a pass and Jonny Flynn hit a runner.

"I guess we weren't determined enough," Williams said. "It looked like they wanted the game a little more than we did."

rsiler@sltrib.com Storylines

In short ? The Jazz suffer an embarrassing loss to a Minnesota team that had lost 15 straight during the season's first month.

Key moment ? Not even a Jerry Sloan timeout with 1:54 left could break the Wolves 11-0 run to end the first half.

Key stat: The Jazz went just 2-for-16 from three-point range, including 1-for-6 by Mehmet Okur.


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 7, 2009

 

 
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