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Jazz rally past Timberwolves

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SALT LAKE CITY — After watching his team surrender 10 unanswered points to the Minnesota Timberwolves to open the fourth quarter, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder had seen enough. He quickly called timeout and his players came back to the bench expecting to get an earful.

Snyder said nothing. He gave his team the silent treatment during the timeout. But the Jazz coach didn’t need any words to get his message across.

“He said it all just with the look in his eyes,” forward Gordon Hayward said.

Utah came out of the timeout with renewed defensive energy. It quickly revived the Jazz offense and helped Utah rally for a 100-94 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

Hayward, who finished with 26 points, keyed it all with some huge plays to spark the comeback.

With his team trailing 92-84, Hayward hit a 3-pointer and then dunked off his own steal from Muhammad to ignite an 11-0 run. Kanter put the Jazz in front with a layup off a steal. Hayward capped the run with another layup off yet another steal — giving Utah a 95-92 lead with 1:38 left.

Hayward hit four free throws during the final minute to prevent a Minnesota rally. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter alone to go along with his pair of steals.

“We got a little more aggressive,” Hayward said. “We got some deflections. Numerous people got steals and it really made it easier for us offensively. And that’s what sparked it for us.”

Trey Burke scored a season-high 26 points to help Utah (11-21) win for the fifth time in the last seven games. Forward Derrick Favors chipped in 15 points and eight boards while center Enes Kanter added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz.

As a team, the Jazz shot 21-of-37 (56.8 percent) in the second half to fuel the comeback. They also out-rebounded the Timberwolves 43-34.

Forward Shabazz Muhammad scored a career-high 30 points and forward Andrew Wiggins added 21 for the Timberwolves (5-25), who lost their ninth straight contest.

This latest loss stung just a bit more for Minnesota, because it had seen strong play through 3 1/2 quarters give way to an offensive breakdown over the final five minutes.

“We weren’t really running our offense,” Muhammad said. “We were kind of panicking on offense and that is one thing that we got to do (right). We need to learn how to slow down.”

Muhammad came out on fire in the first quarter. He scored 12 points on 50 percent shooting in that quarter alone. It helped Minnesota sprint ahead of Utah early.

After the Jazz took a 7-6 lead on a Burke 3-pointer, Muhammad hit a pair of free throws and made an alley-oop dunk to spark a 9-2 Timberwolves run and give his team a 15-9 lead. Minnesota pushed the lead to as many as 11 points, going up 25-14 when Muhammad converted a 3-point play with 2:25 left in the quarter.

Utah battled back in the second quarter. Guard Rodney Hood drove for a layup and Burke scored another layup to bookend an 8-0 run that brought the Jazz within one at 30-29. Utah finally retook a 36-35 lead on a slam dunk by Favors with 3:35 remaining before halftime.

“There’s no excuse for the way we played in the first half,” Burke said. “Obviously, we had a game yesterday, but we knew that this was a fresh team coming in looking for a win. I just think we needed more juice in the first half.”

The Jazz built up a five-point lead in the third quarter, going up 55-50 on back-to-back baskets from Burke. Minnesota eventually erased the small deficit before the quarter ended. The Timberwolves scored on four straight possessions, starting with a 3-pointer from Wiggins, to retake a 64-61 lead with 4:24 left in the quarter.

Minnesota pulled away in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves scored 10 unanswered points to open the quarter — culminating in a pair of Muhammad 3-pointers — to go up 82-72 with 9:30 remaining.

Everything unraveled for Minnesota after Snyder took a timeout to quell the run.

“The last five minutes we had breakdowns,” T-Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. “We had some of the same situations: We didn’t set as good of screens, we missed some free throws late and we didn’t hold screens. Point blank, they got aggressive and we didn’t match their intensity.”

NOTES: Utah G Alec Burks will undergo surgery on his injured left shoulder Wednesday and miss the remainder of the season. Burks played in 27 games for the Jazz this season, averaging 13.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists. … Minnesota ranks fifth in the NBA in second-chance points scored (14.9 per game) and 17th in second-chance points allowed (13.3 per game). … The Timberwolves have had three different losing streaks five games or longer this season. … Jazz F Derrick Favors is just one of four NBA players to tally at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in an NBA game this season.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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