Utah Rallies Late to Beat Minnesota Timberwolves in MLK Day Matinee
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Walker Kessler had career-highs of 20 points and 21 rebounds, Jordan Clarkson added 21 points and the Utah Jazz rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 126-125 on Monday.
Collin Sexton added 19 points off the bench for Utah, which had seven players score in double-digits in its third win in four games.
Anthony Edwards scored 17 of his 29 points in the third quarter and D’Angelo Russell added 21 points for Minnesota, which struggled inside against Kessler, the big rookie center traded from the Timberwolves to the Jazz in July.
Kyle Anderson had 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who lost Rudy Gobert to lingering groin soreness early in the game.
Russell tied the game at 125 with 13.5 seconds left. Clarkson made one of two free throws for the winning margin, and Jaden McDaniels' 3-point attempt at the buzzer missed the mark.
Minnesota acquired Kessler, the Naismith defensive player of the year in 2022 for Auburn, in a draft night trade. Two weeks later, he was sent to Utah as the Timberwolves sought a difference-maker down low in Gobert.
Monday, it was Kessler demonstrating his ability to affect opponents inside. He started his fourth game in a row in place of Kelly Olynyk and is averaging 13.5 points, 13.25 rebounds and three blocks as a starter.
Gobert’s transition to Minnesota hasn’t been smooth, but he has begun to become more effective defensively as the Wolves have put together their recent run of success.
Edwards has been the offensive equivalent to Gobert’s defensive performance.
After Utah took a lead midway through the third quarter, Edwards answered. Minnesota went on an 18-8 run to end the third, with Edwards scoring nine.
On three straight possessions, Edwards went right at Kessler at the hoop, getting a pair of free throws and two lay-ins.
Gobert was listed as questionable before the game with right groin soreness. He started against his former team, but only played five minutes before being leaving again due to the injury. Gobert was injured in the last game when he played only 13:25.
Jazz: Lauri Markkanen missed his second straight game with a left hip contusion. Olynyk missed his fourth straight game due to a left ankle sprain. … Rudy Gay returned after missing one game with a left low back spasm. Sexton was back after missing six of the previous games for maintenance of a hamstring injury. … Kessler added four assists and two blocks.
Timberwolves: Edwards became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 500 3-pointers made. … Minnesota only had six turnovers to Utah’s 18.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will face the Nuggets Wednesday night in Denver, with a 9:00 pm CT on Bally Sports North and ESPN.