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Millsap and Jazz hold off T'Wolves
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Paul Millsap scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Al Jefferson had a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards as the Utah Jazz held off a furious late rally to take down the Minnesota Timberwolves, 97-93, on Wednesday.
DeMarre Carroll added 11 points and Enes Kanter donated 10, while both players shot an identical 5-of-9 from the floor for the Jazz, who won their second straight and avoided a fourth consecutive road loss.
"It's a Great win for us going into the break," Utah coach Ty Corbin said. "The guys toughed it out after struggling for most of the game. I thought we hung in there and as a result, got a chance to win the ball game."
Ricky Rubio was one rebound away from a triple-double with 18 points, nine boards and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who were coming off their first road victory since Jan. 3 on Monday at Cleveland, en route to snapping a four- game losing streak. Derrick Williams had a monster night with 24 points and 16 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 19 points with 13 boards.
The already injury-ravaged Wolves were once again without Andrei Kirilenko, who missed his fifth straight with a strained right quadriceps.
As the contest came to a close, it looked like Utah would easily hold on for the victory with a 90-77 lead and 2:55 remaining, but the Wolves turned up the pressure late to make it a game.
Minnesota made things interesting, as a 14-3 flurry brought the team within 93-91 with 19.3 seconds to play.
Randy Foye then helped Utah escape with the win, by going 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds -- although Rubio made two free throws as well in between -- and the Jazz survived the late rally.
After both teams went toe-to-toe in the first half, and the game stayed within one possession for the majority of the third, Jefferson's driving layup helped the visitors close the quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 68-63 edge into the fourth.
Kanter nailed a jumper to make it 72-63 just 50 seconds into the final stanza, before Watson capped the 9-4 spurt to make it a 14-point advantage with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the game.
The Wolves led after a sloppy and poor first quarter, 17-10. Utah connected on just 5-of-20 field goal attempts compared to the Timberwolves' 7-of-22 effort.
Utah quickly turned a 10-point deficit in the second into a 26-22 lead with 5:42 left in the half, as Millsap's jumper capped off a 16-2 flurry.
"It's a little tough on all of us," Williams said. "We're trying to work good together on the offensive and defensive side, and we just couldn't close it out. We just have to play like we did in the last five minutes for the whole game. Coach is always preaching about 48 minutes, but we can't just play like that in the last five or six."
The Jazz have won nine of 11 in the series, but came into the game losing its last two trips in Minnesota ... The Wolves have lost seven of eight at home, with four of the defeats coming by six or fewer points ... Luke Ridnour added 18 points for Minnesota ... Rubio shot just 3-of-13 from the floor ... The Timberwolves shot a mere 34.1 percent from the field (29-of-85) ... The Jazz outscored the home team 54-30 on points in the paint.
02/14 00:00:15 ET