ORLANDO – Point guard Tyus Jones’ 12-point, seven-assist, five-steal, five-rebound game Tuesday at Brooklyn put him in some elite company among the youngest Timberwolves ever.
He’s the third youngest in team history to record a 4 x 5 game — at least five in four different categories. Kevin Garnett is the youngest, doing it twice. The only other player to do that at 21 years or younger was Ricky Rubio, twice in his rookie year.
Jones was 20 years and 182 days old Tuesday.
“Pretty cool,” Jones said. “Those are two guys I’m honored to join there on that list for sure.”
Jones played 32 minutes at Brooklyn and finished both halves after starter Kris Dunn picked up two quick fouls.
Asked if he remembers the last time he had five steals in a game, Jones said, “No idea, actually.” But he said statistics meant little in a game when the Nets scored at will and won 119-110 before the Wolves went to Orlando on Wednesday night and thumped the Magic. Jones followed up his strong Brooklyn game with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists against Orlando.
And Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau agrees.
“There were some positives, but again, you judge your point guard by how the team plays,” Thibodeau said. “And we weren’t as good as we would have liked. Our defense wasn’t very good, controlling the ball wasn’t good. It wasn’t just him, it was the entire team. When you win, you win together. When you lose, you lose together.”
Back together again
They’re both in different places now, but Thibodeau and Orlando’s Frank Vogel met each other again Wednesday, this time far away from their Central Division battles when Thibodeau coached Chicago and Vogel led Indiana.
“Yeah, we had some good battles,” Vogel said. “When you beat a Tom Thibodeau team, you always feel a little bit better because of how well they’re coached, how well they’re prepared. You feel like you accomplished something. We certainly have a lot of history. We have tons and tons of respect for him as a coach.”
Damjan Rudez is back with Vogel in Orlando after he spent last season with the Wolves and the season before that with Vogel in Indiana.
“He carries himself the right way, works the right way, cares the right way, leads the rest of his teammates,” Vogel said. “He’s a great, great culture fit for what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
• Former Wolves assistant coach Greg Ballard died Wednesday from cancer at age 61. He coached for both Bill Blair and Flip Saunders during nine seasons with the team in the 1990s and early 2000s and had worked for years as an advance scout, most recently with the Washington team for which he once played.
• Thibodeau on Tuesday’ election: “I leave politics and religion and all that stuff to you guys.”
• Thibodeau on Vogel: “He’s a terrific coach. He did a great job in Indiana and I’m sure he’ll do a great job here as well. He has earned his way.”