Jazz defeats Wolves behind Jefferson's 40 points

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2013 - 2:05 AM

Former Wolves teammates had no answers for the Jazz big man’s slippery post repertoire on his 40-point night.

– Timberwolves backup center Greg Stiemsma spent the summer of 2010 working out almost daily against teammate Al Jefferson at Target Center. You’d think he would have learned every trick in Big Al’s proverbial book after all those hours together.

Friday’s 107-100 loss at Utah proved otherwise.

Stiemsma had to go it alone in more ways than one against the NBA’s most inventive low-post scorer: With starting center Nikola Pekovic a late scratch because of a bruised calf, Stiemsma started and played more than 40 minutes because coach Rick Adelman had few options. And for much of the first three quarters, Adelman asked Stiemsma to play Jefferson straight up.

The result: Jefferson willed his team to a must-win in their pursuit of the Los Angeles Lakers and West’s final playoff spot with a 40-point, 13-rebound, six-assist night.

Wolves fans have seen that kind of performance before. Jefferson tied a career scoring high Friday set twice before, in a three-month span with the Wolves during the 2007-08 season when he scored 40 in a January game against New Jersey and did it again at Charlotte in April.

“I worked out with him that summer,” Stiemsma said, “so I kind of knew what to expect.”

But he couldn’t stop him all by himself and for so long.

Jefferson scored 19 points in the third quarter alone and then made the clinching shot — an improvised, leaning, one-handed jumper just as the shot clock expired — that gave the Jazz a 101-98 lead with 39 seconds left that they never surrendered.

“He went for a couple ball fakes,” Jefferson said afterward. “I was like, ‘Man, you should know better, of all people.’ He just said it really looked like I was going to shoot it. I guess it don’t matter.”

Stiemsma remembers well Jefferson’s signature move.

“I’ve seen the pump fake,” he said. “I fell for it once. That’s one too many for me, but he does it to everybody.”

The Wolves won’t make the playoffs, but they sampled a taste for it Friday in a fourth-quarter that turned contentious when Jazz fans got loud and mercilessly booed guard J.J. Barea for his effective, instigating play (23 points off the bench) that drew a flagrant foul from Utah forward Derrick Favors when Favors knocked Barea to the floor with a forearm strike in the fourth quarter.

The ensuing two free throws helped the Wolves turn a 97-90 deficit with 5:19 remaining into a very brief 98-97 lead with 3:52 left.

If one didn’t know better, you’d swear Barea was playing like he doesn’t want the Lakers to make the playoffs. There’s a bunch of instant Wolves fans in Los Angeles these days now that the Wolves play the Jazz twice in four days while the Lakers try to hold on to that final playoff spot.

“I’m just trying to win a game,” said Barea, who played some fierce playoff games against the Lakers when he was with Dallas. “I don’t care who makes the playoffs. I’m just trying to win a game.”

Pleased

Adelman implored his players before Friday’s game not to give in to complacency with the season finale only five days away. They apparently listened well.

“It was a great effort,” he said. “Our guys competed.”

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Utah 107, Wolves 100

    Saturday April 13, 2013

    Al Jefferson tied a career high with 40 points, including a clutch jumper with 39 seconds left, to power...

  • Game recap: Utah over Wolves

    Saturday April 13, 2013

    GAME RECAPImpact playerAl Jefferson, JazzThe former Wolves center willed his Utah team to victory and kept the pressure on the...

  • Official Derrick Collins (11) separates Minnesota Timberwolves' Greg S...

  • The Timberwolves’ Chris Johnson leaped way above the rim to reject Utah forward Derrick Favors in the second quarter Friday night in Salt Lake City. The Wolves led the Jazz by a point at halftime.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - B. Colon 6:05 PM
Washington - T. Roark
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:07 PM
Toronto - R. Dickey
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 6:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Wood
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - J. Cueto
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb 6:10 PM
Boston - C. Buchholz
Houston - B. Oberholtzer 7:05 PM
Texas - N. Martinez
St. Louis - S. Miller 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
Arizona - A. Chafin 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Colorado - J. De La Rosa 9:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Columbus
Boston 6:30 PM
Montreal
Nashville 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Toronto
Detroit 7:30 PM
Chicago
San Jose 8:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close