Jazz topple Wolves in Adelman's possible finale
The Sports Xchange
MINNEAPOLIS -- The game meant little other than the transition it represented.
Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin might not be back next season. Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman may never coach in the NBA again.
Even so, Wednesday's season finale offered excitement. In a game that was defensively challenged from the beginning, the Jazz beat the Wolves 136-130 in double overtime at the Target Center.
Guard Trey Burke led the Jazz with 32 points. Of those, 24 came after halftime, 13 in the two overtimes and nine in the final five minutes of regulation, including a 3-pointer with 1:03 left in the second OT that gave the Jazz a five-point lead. He also hit four free throws in the final 20 seconds to secure the win.
Forward Gordon Hayward had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and forward Derrick Favors added 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"This was good," said Burke, whose team won for just the second time in its final 12 games. "It's way better than going out with a loss. Obviously, it doesn't mean much, but this is our job. Every time you step on the court, you represent yourself."
The Wolves were stepping on the court, perhaps, for the final time under Adelman. Both Adelman and the Wolves have an option for next year, the last of the four-year deal he signed. Even so, it is widely expected that Adelman, among the winningest coaches in NBA history, may retire. Indeed Adelman, who gave no official indication of what his decision might be, did take time before the game to reminisce about his career. He wasn't quite as happy after the game ended.
"We just didn't have the energy we needed to have," said Adelman, whose team was down by 14 after the first quarter and down by 19 early in the second. "We didn't defend them that well all game."
Guard Kevin Martin scored a season-high 36 points for the Wolves, with 27 coming after halftime. Martin scored 10 points in Minnesota's 17-7 run to end regulation, including two free throws with under a minute left. Forward Kevin Love struggled with his shot but still finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He finished 4-for-15 from the floor.
The Wolves (40-42) were unable to post the team's first non-losing record in nine seasons.
The Jazz (25-57) shot 49.1 percent, grabbed 22 offensive rebounds, had 30 assists and scored 64 points in the paint. In the final overtime, Utah hit five of six shots and made all six free-throw attempts.
Down five points after Burke's 3-pointer, the Wolves got to within two twice in the final 30 seconds but could get no closer.
"It was a great learning experience for a young guy," Corbin said of Burke, who finished his rookie season with a flourish. "I thought all the young guys did a good job. They made some mistakes, but they hung together and pulled the game out."
Neither team scored in the final 57 seconds of regulation, despite chances. In the first overtime, Martin's 8-footer with one minute left put the Wolves up two, but Favors tied the game with a put-back dunk with 48 seconds left.
The Jazz got the first basket of the second OT and never trailed again.
"We obviously wanted to finish .500 or better," Love said.
And as for Adelman?
"He's got a great family; he's a tremendous human being," Love said. "I just feel bad that we haven't been able to take him as far as some of the other teams have gone that he's coached."
Said Martin: "If this was Coach's last hurrah, it's very disappointing."
NOTES: Wolves coach Rick Adelman admitted that this season's team was one of the most difficult for him to understand. "Overall, it is hard to figure out how we can be playing so well, and in six minutes suddenly we don't have an answer. That's been the hardest thing." ... All the losing has been hard to deal with for Utah coach Ty Corbin. "The guys have gotten better, the young guys have developed," Corbin said. "They have learned their role, but losing is not fun to go through in this league." ... Wolves C Nikola Pekovic missed the final eight games due to ankle bursitis, an injury that kept him out of action for 17 of the team's last 37 games. Pekovic ended up missing 28 games in all due to injury, preventing him from reaching playing time-related bonuses. ... Utah F Marvin Williams missed the final five games of the season with a bone bruise in his knee. ... When Wolves F Kevin Love scored his ninth point late in the first half, he became the first NBA player to record at least 2,000 points with 900 rebounds and 100 3-pointers in a season. ... Minnesota backup PG J.J. Barea missed the game due to back spasms.