With five minutes left in the third quarter and the Wolves clinging to a 69-68 lead, Zach LaVine subbed in for Ricky Rubio. The Jazz promptly closed the quarter on a 14-0 run and went into the break up 82-69. The Wolves never challenged after that, and the Jazz cruised to a 103-90 win.
I rarely call out Sam Mitchell for his rotations in these game recaps; the Wolves usually lose because they are more or less a crap basketball team, and realistically that's true tonight as well. However, that end of the third quarter unit he threw out there was unfathomable. Soon after he subbed out Rubio, he replaced his two most dynamic players on the night, Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng, with Nikola Pekovic and Nemanja Bjelica, and finished the quarter with a unit of LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad, Tayshaun Prince, Bjelica, and Pekovic.
It was terrible. Why run Pek out there without a point guard who can get him the ball, either in the post or in pick and roll action? He has no use in those circumstances. Why allow a unit bereft of Rubio, Towns, and Dieng, who was, for the second night in a row, a positive force, to stay out there and lose the game for you?
I'm just gonna go to some bullet points:
- Zach LaVine was on fire shooting it for the 2nd straight game. He made his first seven shots and finished 9-12 for 19 points. I never know what to make of nights like this for LaVine. He mostly thrived on what I perceive as bad shots, and yet one can't complain when the go it. On the other hand, he managed a -13 in 30 minutes of action.
- Andrew Wiggins had his worst night in quite a while shooting 2-11, finishing with 5 points and nary a rebound nor an assist.
- As usual, the 3 point line killed the Wolves. The Jazz went 10-25 and the Wolves 2-10 from beyond the arc. So tough to overcome that sort of disparity.
- Karl-Anthony Towns. That is all.
- I'm fairly drunk.