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The Sports Xchange, Published January 21 2014

Wolves score familiar triumph against Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Shooting guard Gordon Hayward returned from his five-game injury absence, but his big night was not nearly enough to keep the short-handed Utah Jazz from suffering a 112-97 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Power forward Kevin Love flirted with a triple-double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as Minnesota dominated the Jazz for the second time in four nights.

On Saturday, Love had 18 points and 13 boards as the Timberwolves held Utah to a franchise-low 28.8 percent shooting in a 98-72 win at Target Center. Minnesota lost five in a row to Utah coming into the season.

“Having seen them on Saturday, we felt like we knew them pretty well,” said Love, who grabbed his 4,000th career rebound in this win. “We came in here and had a good shoot-around and had a good game plan and ended up winning both games. We were happy with how we played against the Jazz.”

Minnesota, which had not won two straight since Dec. 27-28 against Washington and Milwaukee, continues this road trip with games in Golden State, Portland and Chicago.

“It was a solid game for us,” Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. “The first three quarters, especially, I thought we defended them pretty well. ... I was pleased with the way we came out and controlled the game from the beginning to the end.”

Hayward finished with a game-high 27 points with five rebounds and five assists in his first game in two weeks after being sidelined with a left hip flexor. The swingman, Utah’s leading scorer, had not played since his career-high 37-point outing at home in a 112-101 win over Oklahoma City on Jan. 7. The Jazz were 2-3 in his absence.

Minnesota 34 20 30 28 — 112:

Utah 16 23 23 35 — 97:

MINNESOTA (112)

Rubio 3-5 4-4 11, Love 7-15 4-5 19, C.Brewer 7-11 4-4 19, Pekovic 7-14 4-4 18, Kv.Martin 5-16 6-6 18, Barea 6-11 0-0 15, Turiaf 1-1 0-1 2, Budinger 0-4 0-0 0, Cunningham 3-8 0-0 6, Mbah a Moute 0-0 0-0 0, Muhammad 1-2 0-0 2, Dieng 1-2 0-0 2, Shved 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 41-90 22-24 112.

UTAH (97)

Hayward 10-17 5-6 27, Burke 4-10 0-0 9, Kanter 2-8 0-0 4, Ma.Williams 2-6 0-0 4, R.Jefferson 2-5 0-0 4, J.Evans 5-11 0-0 10, Burks 6-14 5-6 18, Gobert 4-5 0-0 8, Lucas III 4-5 0-0 8, Rush 1-3 0-0 2, Garrett 0-0 0-0 0, I.Clark 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 41-87 10-12 97.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 8-21 (Barea 3-5, Kv.Martin 2-5, Rubio 1-2, C.Brewer 1-3, Love 1-6), Utah 5-17 (Hayward 2-5, Burks 1-1, I.Clark 1-2, Burke 1-3, Lucas III 0-1, Ma.Williams 0-1, R.Jefferson 0-2, Rush 0-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 51 (Love 13), Utah 48 (Kanter, Gobert 6). Assists: Minnesota 31 (Rubio 13), Utah 22 (Hayward, Burke 5). Total Fouls: Minnesota 19 (Pekovic 4), Utah 23 (Ma.Williams 4). A—16,387.