MINNEAPOLIS – D’Angelo Russell had a season-high seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied to beat the Utah Jazz 105-104 on Monday night.
Mike Conley gave Utah a 104-103 lead with 6.4 seconds left, but Ricky Rubio found Russell for a layup on the ensuing possession. Conley then lost the ball in a scramble on the Jazz’s final possession as time expired.
“We got the job done,” Towns said. “Our physicality was there. The discipline was there. Execution was there. The defensive effort keeping them to 104 points tonight. I think last game it was 98, I believe. You can’t ask for much more on the defensive end.”
Minnesota, which started the day tied for the second-fewest wins in the NBA, handed the league-leading Jazz another loss. The Timberwolves (18-44) went 3-0 against Utah (44-17) this season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in NBA history a team with a win percentage below .300 swept a series of at least three games against a team with a win percentage of at least .700.
Anthony Edwards added 14 points for Minnesota, which has won four of its last six games.
“We’re building, gives us something to build on,” Russell said. “We got all the excuses in the world to say why we’re not what we’re supposed to be. But just the taste of us winning here and there, us executing down the stretch, something to build on, just taking those small positives out of each game, especially when we win.”
Conley had 26 points and Rudy Gobert added 18 points for Utah. The Jazz, playing their fifth straight game without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell, have lost three of five.
Utah shot 38.9% from the field and 16 of 57 (28.1%) from 3-point range against Minnesota.
“I don’t know if concern would be the word that I would choose to use, but certainly you want to win,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I’d be concerned if we didn’t compete. I’d like to have executed better on the two possessions. But again, that’s something we have to do the same way I mentioned the other night; we have to rebound and we have to take care of the ball.”
The Jazz looked set to avenge a 101-96 loss to the Wolves in Utah on Saturday. They closed the first quarter on a 30-12 run and led by 18 points early in the second period.
Then, just like it did Saturday, Minnesota came back in the second.
Russell got the cold-shooting Wolves started. He scored 15 points in the second and hit six 3s in the first half. He connected on three straight from beyond the arc to finish off a 32-9 run that gave Minnesota the lead.
The Wolves led by as many as 13 in the fourth before the Jazz closed strong.
“It’s never going to be all good and all bad,” Gobert said. “We just got to find ways to put ourself in position to win every night. I thought we did that tonight. I thought we did that last game.”
Jazz: Mitchell missed his fifth straight game with a right ankle sprain. Utah is 5-3 without Mitchell this season. … Joe Ingles started the day with a league-best 48.7% shooting percentage from 3. He finished 3 of 13 from beyond the arc on Monday.
Timberwolves: Russell’s six 3s tied a franchise record for most 3s in a half. The franchise record for made 3-pointers in a game is eight, last done by Kevin Love in 2013. … Minnesota came back from down 17 points on Saturday in Utah, its third-largest comeback of the season. The Wolves have come back from at least 15 points five times since the All-Star break.
Russell missed two months as he recovered from knee surgery and he’s come off the bench since his return. In the 12 games since returning, Russell is scoring 20 points per game. He’s shooting 48.5% from the field and 44.7% from 3.
His 20 points and 11 assists on Monday make him the third Wolves player to have a 20-point, 10-assist game off the bench.
Jazz: Continue their three-game trip on Wednesday at Sacramento.
Timberwolves: Travel to Houston to finish a back-to-back on Tuesday.
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