The good news is the Wolves now have five days off to rest and lick their wounds after two tough road losses in Portland and last night in Uyah. It was an eventful night as the already short-handed Wolves were rendered even more so by two ejections, and despite an admirable attempt to stay in the game, they ultimately fell to the Jazz 116-108.
The key stretch in this one was late in the second quarter, when the Jazz went on a 20-6 run, turning a three point Wolves lead into an 11 point deficit at halftime. It was during this run that Karl-Anthony Towns was ejected, leaving the Wolves without their best player and spelling doom on the second night of a back to back. Towns received his first technical foul for reacting too aggressively to a Jae Crowder foul in the post. Just minutes later, he was gone, after snapping at the referee for not calling a foul on his last made basket of the night. It was...a quick trigger by the ref, as Towns was retreating back down court when he reacted, and apparently only said “Call that one.” Still, Towns, like many NBA players, has taken to complaining about calls frequently, and you can’t give officials opportunities to make mistakes, because ultimately they will.
The story was not a new one for the Wolves. Their inability to contain dribble penetration led to the Jazz feasting at the rim through a series of dish-offs and easy put-backs when the defense scrambled out of position to contain the initial drive. The Wolves battled in the second half, getting as close as two points on a couple of occasions, but allowed the Jazz to shoot 51 percent from the field and win the offensive rebound battle 11-2, a combination they could not overcome.
Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors combined to shoot 14-17 from the field, score 41 points, and grab 23 rebounds largely thanks to these kinds of plays. The Jazz do a good job moving the ball and their interior passing was especially impressive tonight.
The second ejection came in the fourth quarter, when Jeff Teague did this:
Jeff Teague gets ejected after hip-checking Ricky Rubio. pic.twitter.com/z0ClZn1eya— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2018
This was, in truth, a bullshit play by Teague. Clearly he and Jimmy Butler have targeted Rubio. Interestingly, Butler, who rarely tweets, took to Twitter immediately with this:
haven’t used Twitter in years. But yeah Jeff that’s what I like to see. Rubio getting up quick for no reason.— Jimmy Butler (@JimmyButler) March 3, 2018
It’s a beef! Which is fun in its way, but that was not a good play by Teague.
At any rate, he was ejected and the Jazz more or less cruised from there.
Lets do some notes
- Andrew Wiggins was key in keeping the Wolves in the game in the second half, with 23 of his 27 total after the break (and after Towns was ejected.) He made all four of his three point attempts.
- Teague was the other big scorer on the night, with 25.
- Although three Iowa Wolves were added to the roster for the game, none of Justin Patton, Anthony Brown, or Amile Jefferson played.
- Taj Gibson, a night after injuring his hip, played 39 minutes.
- The Wolves need a break