NBA Basketball

97
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Utah 16 26 23 32 97
Minnesota 19 27 24 30 100
100
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , October 20, 2017
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota  Attendance: 18,978

Crawford leads Timberwolves past Jazz

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Minnesota Timberwolves overhauled their roster in the offseason, the spotlight was on the acquisition of star Jimmy Butler and starters Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson.

Backup guard Jamal Crawford could well prove to be nearly as vital, with his ability to hit big shots.

Crawford provided the closing punch on Friday night that made him so attractive as a free agent. He scored 17 points, all in the fourth quarter, in Minnesota's nail-biting 100-97 win over the Utah Jazz.

"I think you saw," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said of Crawford's potential impact. "It's amazing. It doesn't take him much to get going."

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. Butler added 13 points as the Timberwolves overcame 26 turnovers and were just 7 of 22 from 3-point territory.

Rodney Hood led Utah with 20 points but had to be carried off the floor by teammates in the fourth quarter after suffering a left leg injury. Hood was unable to put any pressure on the leg and coach Quin Snyder said Hood has a calf strain that will be re-evaluated in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

Ricky Rubio had 19 points and 10 assists for the Jazz, making his way back to Minnesota after playing six seasons for the Timberwolves. Rubio was announced first for Utah before the game and received a standing ovation while waving to the crowd.

"Once the game starts, you forget a little bit of that, but it was emotional before the game, seeing all my friends," Rubio said. "Once the game starts up, it's 48 minutes and you're just trying to win."

Rubio nearly pulled it out as he kept the Jazz close late with a flurry of free throws.

The No. 5 overall draft pick by Minnesota in 2009, Rubio tied the score 95-all with 1:03 left. He connected on three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer by Teague, who replaced Rubio as the Timberwolves point guard.

Rubio stole the ball on the ensuing possession and was fouled, hitting 1 of 2 free throws. He made 10 of 11 free throws in the game.

"Ricky played a terrific game," Thibodeau said, smiling. "He did get 11 free throws, I'll leave it at that."

Out of a timeout, Crawford hit a 3 from the sideline with 27.5 seconds left. Crawford said he could see the rim when he started to shoot but lost sight as the defender closed out.

"Very comfortable," Crawford said of taking the shot. "I just work on it all the time. I only take shots I work on. To be very honest with you, I couldn't see the basket. But I've shot it so many times, I kind of knew. I just looked at the net when I was on the floor."

Butler closed out the game with two three throws and Joe Johnson's shot at the buzzer was short.

Rubio was traded in the offseason as Minnesota overhauled its starting unit with Butler, Gibson and Teague.

Wiggins, the third-year holdover, has led the team in scoring in both games. He gave the Timberwolves a jolt heading into halftime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

With Gordon Hayward leaving for Boston, Utah hoped for more offensively from Hood. The third-year swingman gave the Jazz the lead temporarily, scoring nine straight points on three 3s in the third.

"Leads, especially on the road, you want to make someone work to get points back," Snyder said. "It felt like, particularly on the offensive glass, they were the more aggressive team and that hurt us during that stretch.

"We're trying to figure it out a little bit right now. To come in and play against one of the top teams in the West and to be in the position that we were, where we had the ball and we're ahead at the end of the game, we didn't make plays to close the game."

NOTES: Utah coach Quin Snyder said G Raul Neto (hamstring) was available, but Neto didn't play for the second straight game as rookie Donovan Mitchell was the backup point guard. G Dante Exum was out with a left shoulder injury. F/G Rodney Hood returned after missing the opener with an illness. ... Jazz G/F Joe Johnson scored four points and passed Tom Chambers for 40th on the NBA's career scoring list. ... Minnesota G Jamal Crawford hit a 3-pointer to take sole possession for sixth in NBA history in 3-pointers made with 2,051. He's sixth among all active players in games played (1,183). ... Friday's game marked the first in the remodeled Target Center, complete with a new court, scoreboard and an overall brighter feel.

Updated October 21, 2017

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