Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Utah Jazz: Frustrating night for Jazz, phenomenal night for Kevin Love, T-Wolves

By Jody Genessy, Deseret News

Published: Sat, Feb. 22 10:40 p.m. MST

 Minnesota Timberwolves' Chase Budinger (10) fouls Utah Jazz's Richard Jefferson (24) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Feb. 22, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Minnesota Timberwolves' Chase Budinger (10) fouls Utah Jazz's Richard Jefferson (24) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Feb. 22, 2014, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Rick Bowmer, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans witnessed one of the best performances in Kevin Love’s NBA career on Saturday night.

So there was that.

There were also some laughs and smiles during the Kiss Cam portion of the night at EnergySolutions Arena.

And that wacky and wild Bear, man, did he plaster some fans with Silly String. He doused a guy wearing a Timberwolves jersey with a fire extinguisher, too.

On top of that ... um ... well ... huh.

Did we mention that historic night by three-time All-Star big man Kevin Love?

Yep, it was that kind of night — a scrape the bottom of the barrel for highlights kind of night — for the Jazz and their fans as they suffered through a 121-104 shellacking by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“(There) wasn’t a lot of positives tonight in this game, and that’s the disheartening thing about it,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We’ve got a lot of basketball to play. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to come back and try to get another win streak going.”

With their lifeless showing (no-showing?) on Saturday, the Jazz (19-35) showed that they’ve still got losing streaks in them. This was Utah’s third consecutive loss, marking the fifth time during this rough rebuilding season in which the team has dropped at least three games in a row.

Making this particular losing skid sting even more is how it’s coming right after the Jazz actually put together their first three-game winning streak of the season heading into the All-Star break.

Even Marvin Williams, who’s been Mr. Positive all season, used the word “frustrating” three times while answering one question.

“You lose three in a row and that’s frustrating because we’ve been doing it so much all year,” Williams said. “It is very frustrating to play so well one week, literally, and the next week you just turn around and drop three games in a row. … We were in great positions to win (against Brooklyn on Wednesday and Portland on Friday), and we dropped both of those games. It does become frustrating.”

The most frustrating aspect of Saturday’s game was the way the Jazz floundered while trying (allegedly) to play defense against Minnesota without starting center Derrick Favors patrolling the paint.

Love, starting at center against Enes Kanter because of injuries on both sides, had his way inside and out. The 6-10 big man made 11 of 20 shots, hit 6 of 10 from deep range and scored 37 points.

Not only that, but the sixth-year pro grabbed 12 rebounds and looked like he could be the Vikings’ next man behind center while dishing out 10 assists, including multiple full-court heaves.

“We’ve been talking about it all year that my parents never let me play football. It was my way of being quarterback out there,” Love said of his long passes to Corey Brewer and Co. “Tonight, they (the Jazz) didn’t do a fantastic job of getting back.”

Fantastic was just one superlative fitting of Love’s performance.

“Kevin Love was unbelievable,” T-Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “He’s incredible.”

“He’s a really good player. He’s an All-Star,” Kanter said. “In the end, he made some crazy shots. I just can’t do nothing about it.”

That was just part of the cause for Jazz frustration.

Frustrating: The T-Wolves had 24 fast-break points to just 13 for the Jazz.

Frustrating: The T-Wolves outscored Utah 50-38 in the paint.

Frustrating: The T-Wolves outrebounded the home team 49-34.

Frustrating: The T-Wolves went ahead 59-49 at halftime and never let Corbin’s crew get within single digits the entire second half.

Frustrating: The Jazz fell to 0-9 without Favors, to 1-24 with Kanter in a starting role; allowed Minnesota to shoot 51.4 percent and trailed by 23; only got five points on 2-of-10 shooting from struggling leading scorer Gordon Hayward (who uncharacteristically hurried out of the locker room as reporters entered); and, well, you get the point.

“I think we started the game really well,” Kanter said of the Jazz, who indeed led 3-0 and then 7-4 before playing like a lottery-bound team. “But then they played pretty hard and we just couldn’t match them.”

Kanter was the bright spot offensively for the Jazz, as he tied his career high with 25 points for the second night in a row. His 11-of-14 shooting was the highlight of this game for Utah.

Well, there was also a sweet fast-break dunk by Jeremy Evans.

The rest of the night?

Keep in mind the theme.

“It’s frustrating when you lose,” Corbin said. “To lose the way we lost tonight wasn’t pleasing at all.”

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com

TWITTER: DJJazzyJody

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Utah Jazz

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1. Carnak
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 22, 2014

Hayward is not good. Best thing for the Jazz would be for the Celtics to sign Gordon, the Jazz not to match and then use the money for a free agent.

2. Elcapitan
Ivins, UT,
Feb. 23, 2014

Could be Rick Adelman had something to do with defeating the Jazz once again. I lucked out in not seeing the mayhem. Adelman has my total respect and of course can outcoach the entire Jazz coaching staff single handed. He has proved it for many years.

3. John Wicks
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 23, 2014

Now is the time to fire Corbin and pick someone else. Hayward needs to forget about his upcoming marriage and play some basketball. He is absolutely horrible. Should have been traded for draft picks last week but we have Lindsey as a GM. Wake up Greg. Changes are needed today.

4. buryme
Mesa, AZ,
Feb. 23, 2014

Gordon Hayward---Ouch! Please tell me Jazz management can see what all Jazz fans can see. Giving big money to him would be worse than the Kirilenko deal.

5. Americanvet
Ivins, UT,
Feb. 23, 2014

Kanter is becoming a weapon on offense, but my mom could drive the lane and score when he's playing defense. If we don't have anyone that can teach him how to play defense we really need to get Favors back and have the 2 play together so Favors can help cover up Kanters weaknesses.