Retro Rose Toasts Jazz, Takes Focus Off Turmoil

November 1st, 2018 | by Riley Gisseman

Derrick Rose was unstoppable against the Jazz in a 128-125 win. (Jordan Johnson via timberwolves.com)

Thanks to Derrick Rose, the Minnesota Timberwolves got a night off from being the NBA’s Team Turmoil.

Rose, a former league MVP, went off for a career-high 50 points, on just 31 shots. He shot lights out, which sometimes just happens in the NBA. The Jazz found themselves on the wrong end of Rose’s tearful celebration, falling 125-128 in Minnesota after Rose scored seven of the home team’s final eight points and then blocked Dante Exum’s last-second attempt at a tying three.

It was a welcome distraction-from-the-distractions for Minnesota. The past month has been a crazy, never-ending drama with the Wolves at the center.

Their star wing Jimmy Butler demanded a trade, sat out most of training camp, and rejoined the team in boisterous fashion, calling out teammates and team staff on the court and in a televised interview.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on the awkward team practice earlier in October: “At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, ‘You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me.’ Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy’s back.”

Well, he was back. The story took another twist on Halloween, with the Athletic’s Shams Charania reporting that Butler would miss the club’s game against the Jazz in a renewed effort to get away from Minnesota. According to Charania’s reporting, Butler may be AWOL for a while.

“Jimmy Butler is taking next step in six-week-long process aimed at getting the All-Star out of Minnesota by sitting tonight against Utah, and could lead to extended absence for Butler.”

It could have seemed like another lucky stroke for Utah, who had seen Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, James Harden and now Butler miss all or part of their respective games on Utah’s current road trip. And Butler wasn’t the only Wolves starter to take the night off; Jeff Teague also sat out with knee soreness after bumping knees with LeBron James in Monday’s game against the Lakers. 

None of this stopped Minnesota in Wednesday’s game though, as Rose and Karl-Anthony Towns each had 16 points in the first half. Rose had a bit of a reawakening in the third quarter, tallying another 17 on nearly entirely mid-range shots. The former-MVP made it look like it was 2011 once again. Rose ended with 50 points.

Led by Rose’s 19-for-31 shooting night, the Wolves shot 62 percent through the first three quarters of the game and finished at 58 percent shooting, a simply incredible shooting night for an injury-riddled team. 

On the Jazz’s side of things, Donovan Mitchell struggled early, starting the game 2-for-12, and reserve Jae Crowder posted a team-worst minus-15 through the first half. But in the third quarter, Mitchell scored at will. In one three-minute stretch, he tallied a quick ten points, and ended the quarter with 21. Mitchell finished with 26 overall on 24 shots, but his night ended early when a tight hamstring brought him to the sideline with six minutes remaining.

Crowder finished with 18 points, but missed long on a tying three attempt with 13 seconds left. A Ricky Rubio rebound and pass-out set up another attempt to tie, this time by Joe Ingles, but that shot rimmed off. Crowder secured the loose ball and whipped it to Exum. After Rose rejected his corner attempt, time ran out for Utah.

Aside from Mitchell’s 26 and Crowder’s 18, Rudy Gobert had his seventh consecutive double-double to start the season: 22 and 13 for Gobert. Derrick Favors scored 14 and Ingles added 13. 

Georges Niang also deserves a mention, as he came in for a quick six-minute stint in the second quarter and nailed two treys, narrowing the deficit at the time.

Exum had a terrific game, putting pressure on Rose and disrupting passing lanes. On the other end, he was blitzing past defenders at will, as has become the custom to Jazz fans over the past couple weeks. He finished 14 points, four boards and three assists, closing the game while Mitchell iced his hamstring.

Also of note: in a game decided by just one possession, the Jazz missed 12 free throws. That can’t happen again.

In what seemed to be a classic game from the start, the Jazz put up a fight, but in the end couldn’t stop Rose having a career shooting night. It felt eerily similar to the final game of the 2015-16 NBA season, where Kobe Bryant seemingly couldn’t miss in his career finale. The difference is that Rose’s incredible shooting performance may very well mean something at the end of the season, while Bryant’s performance in game 82 was largely just an exhibition.

And, for a team that’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, Rose’s big night gives Minnesota a refreshing headline.

Riley Gisseman

Riley is a fixture in the Jazz social media community, a frequent creator of spicy memes, thoughtful Reddit posts and awesome videos. He got his start writing about the Jazz at 12 years old, when he contributed to the franchise's own UtahJazz360 platform.

One Comment

  1. John Jenkins says:

    The Jazz squandered opportunity after opportunity! The lackadaisical defense is becoming the norm. Free throws killed them as well as turnovers. This formula is what got the Jazz in the hole last year. Now Donovan is injured! Not a good news take. Rickey still struggles with quick guards and the Jazz the same with 3pt bigs. Put intelligence and efoet into the D.

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