By Erik “T-Bo” Thibault
MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves' attempt to win back-to-back games for the first time since mid-December failed and the Wolves fell to the Utah Jazz 97-93.
"Our guys just have to understand with the people we have out…we don't have that big of a margin of error," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "We have to play the game for 48 minutes."
The Wolves were down 13 points with around three minutes to go and made another valiant late fourth-quarter comeback which again came up short much to the chagrin of the Target Center crowd.
"That's who we are," Adelman said. "We aren't going to quit but it is frustrating because we have to play all out all the time."
Former Timberwolf Randy Foye hit four free throws in the closing 15 seconds to clinch the victory for the Jazz.
Ricky Rubio led the spirited comeback and nearly attained a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists while Derrick Williams had a double-double of his own with 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
"I'll be in trouble with the medical staff," Adelman said about Rubio playing 40 minutes. "So I'm going to get out of town."
However, Rubio has a great opportunity to cut the Jazz lead to two after he stole the ball from Alec Burks at mid-court but Burks recovered and blocked Rubio’s lay up at the rim.
The Wolves were dominated inside by the Jazz who were led by Paul Millsap with a team-high 21 and another former Timberwolf, Al Jefferson, with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
"They're very physical, they're going to grab and they're going to foul," Adelman said. "You've got to play through it. You've got to be strong enough mentally to get through that."
After struggling in the first half, Nikola Pekovic had 18 of his 19 points in the second half while Luke Ridnour had another solid game scoring 18 points.
"I thought we should've been ahead easy in the first quarter," Adelman said. "You have to do all of those little things to have a chance to win."
That being said, the Timberwolves missed nearly a dozen or so lay ups right at the rim and the Wolves finished 15 of 43 in the paint.
"We missed a lot of shots at the basket," Adelman said. "I guess we covered both gambits of missed shots."
The Jazz overpowered the Wolves in the paint and off the bench and while Minnesota continued to struggle from three-point range.
Utah outscored Minnesota 54-30 in the paint, 43-12 off the bench and the Wolves made five of 22 shots from three point range.
"We need collectively everybody that’s on this roster to be ready to play and give us a contribution," Adelman said.
-Greg Stiemsma was given a technical foul for waving his towel in the air after a potential offensive goal tending call against the Jazz.
-The Timberwolves have lost 22 of its last 29 games.