After jumping out to a double-digit lead in the second quarter, Utah found itself tied at 65 with Minnesota early in the third quarter.

Rather than call timeout, head coach Quin Snyder elected to let his veteran team play through their shooting struggles.

And that’s why he’s one of the top coaches in the game.

Over the final 22 minutes, the Jazz outscored Minnesota by 32 points as the second half surge powered Utah to a 136-104 victory over the Timberwolves — their fifth consecutive win.

“They (Minnesota) made some shots early, and sometimes when teams are making shots it can be discouraging,” Snyder said postgame. “I thought we hung in there with what we were trying to do from a game plan standpoint. Over time, hopefully what you’re doing can make it harder on a team, and those percentages can change.”

Utah knew it would have to be exceptional on offense again, facing its third consecutive top-10 defense. In the process of coming within one point of their season-high, the Jazz set two NBA records.

Utah’s 72 three-pointers over the past three games are the most in a three-game span, breaking the old record of 67 set by Milwaukee and Houston (twice). The Jazz also became the first team in NBA history to have three consecutive games with 20 or more made three-pointers.

Utah was able to get the job done on the glass, dominating the rebounding battle in the second half. The Jazz were outrebounded by the Timberwolves by eight in the first half, but they eventually won the battle 48-37 in the end.

It’s an impressive stat considering Utah was without Hassan Whiteside (left adductor strain) for the second straight game, and starting center Rudy Gobert found himself in early foul trouble. That meant they would have to play small for a majority of the second half — and did so with no issues.

Gobert picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, right before the Jazz went on that extended run.

With the reigning defensive player of the year on the bench, Utah went five-out with their players on offense, and Minnesota couldn’t keep up. More impressively, the Jazz were able to pressure defensively and not allow the best offensive rebounding team in the league to make its mark.

“The biggest thing is that we force a miss and then to be able to collect those rebounds,” Snyder said. “Particularly when we are smaller and getting our guards really involved in the boards. … When we do that, that fuels transition. We can go on some spurts, go on some runs, and that can happen.”

Donovan Mitchell continued to stay hot amidst the best shooting stretch of his career. He finished with 36 points on 14-of-23 from the field and 5-of-12 beyond the arc, adding five rebounds and two assists.

While his outside shooting continues to evolve and get better, Mitchell has arguably the best euro-step in the league. His ability to navigate his way inside the paint amongst bigger defenders and finish is unprecedented.

“He’s just being aggressive,” Bojan Bogdanovic said of Mitchell. “A couple shots go in, and he’s full of confidence. This is who he is, he’s been playing at a high level the whole year.”

Bogdanovic finished with 21 points, while Royce O’Neale added nine points, seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals.

After the slow start, Gobert finished with another double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Gobert’s defense at the rim was instrumental in limiting Minnesota to 40% shooting from the field.

Minnesota came out hot to start the game, jumping out to a 12-5 lead aided by three early turnovers from the Jazz. After a quick Snyder timeout, Utah responded to lead 34-33 after the first quarter, helped by Mitchell’s 17 points.

Utah extended its lead to 10 early in the second quarter, but Anthony Edwards got going for Minnesota as the Timberwolves responded with a 12-0 run to take the lead. A personal 7-0 run by Bogdanovic helped give the Jazz a 60-59 advantage at the break.

Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson continue to cause havoc off the bench. Clarkson finished with 18 points, three rebounds, and a +23 rating, while Ingles added 11 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and a +32 rating.

Utah plays the backend of a back-to-back tomorrow when it travels to face Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. MST.


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