Tyrone Corbin received everything he asked for. Not on Christmas, but an average Wednesday, the second box on the calendar. His team played at a faster pace and made baskets at a higher rate, and did so with ramped up intelligence and flair. They were balanced and unselfish.
Former Jazz All-Star Andrei Kirilenko played well — but not too well.
There was so much good, it was easy to forget that Wednesday was actually one of the worst days of the Jazz’s season.
If only winning cured everything, including an injured thumb.
Ninety minutes before the Jazz commenced their 106-84 drubbing of Kirilenko and his Minnesota Timberwolves, the team announced that point guard Mo Williams will undergo surgery on his right thumb Friday and will miss a minimum of six weeks.
Bad news begets bad news. Before Wednesday, the Jazz (16-17) had been dreadful, losers of seven of nine games and three in a row.
"We could have got good news all week," Al Jefferson said. "We still needed a win."
If they can summon what worked for them against the T-Wolves, they may be just fine.
Gordon Hayward came off the bench to lead six Jazz players in double figures with 17 points. Enes Kanter added 15 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes before spraining his ankle in the final moments of the game. Paul Millsap, three nights after being benched for the fourth quarter of a loss to the Clippers, scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
The Jazz turned a nice 53-45 halftime lead into an all-out laugher by forcing nine straight stops to start the third quarter on an 11-0 run.
They were effective in transition, pushing the tempo and finishing plays with dunks and layups. Utah outscored Minnesota, which was without Ricky Rubio for the second straight game, 56-36 in the paint and 25-8 in transition.
Before the game, Corbin said the Jazz needed to find speed to replace Mo Williams. Speed granted.Next Page »