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Russell, Timberwolves hang on to spoil Jazz’ home opener

D’ANGELO Russell scored 25 points, including three key free throws in the final seconds, to lead the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves to a 116-111 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

Malik Beasley and rookie Anthony Edwards each scored 18, while Karl-Anthony Towns contributed 16 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocked shots as Minnesota won its first road game after opening the season with a home win over Detroit.

The Timberwolves led by as many as 17, but needed to play a full 48 minutes to escape Utah with a win.

Russell left the door open with 4.2 seconds remaining after hitting just 1 of 2 free throws to give Minnesota a three-point lead. Utah hauled in the rebound and, after a time out to advance the ball, Bojan Bogdanovic was called for a five-second penalty after not being able to find an open teammate on the inbound pass.

Russell then hit two free throws with 3.3 seconds left.

It was the first loss of the season for the Jazz in their home debut.

Jordan Clarkson led Utah with 23 points, but the Jazz shot only 38.3% and were hurt by rough shooting nights by Donovan Mitchell and Bogdanovic. Mitchell heated up late, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers as Utah rallied, but the All-Star hits only 6 of 23 shots for 21 points. Bogdanovic scored nine on 3-of-16 shooting.

Mike Conley scored 20 points for Utah, which won big at Portland on Wednesday. Rudy Gobert, fresh off signing a $205-million contract extension, finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Naz Reid hit a 3-pointer with 2:34 remaining in the third to put the Timberwolves up 86-69, matching the visitors’ biggest lead of 17.

Former Jazz guard Ricky Rubio, a fan favorite while in Utah from 2017-19, scored nine points with six assists off the bench for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves were hot from beyond the arc, hitting 13 of 29. Utah cooled down after hitting 19 of 50 3-pointers in a season-opening win at Portland by shooting 10-for-34 from deep.

The Jazz were allowed to have 1,500 fans in the stands for their home-opener.

The Timberwolves outscored the Jazz 31-27 in the first quarter and then surged into the locker room ahead 68-53 after a 24-12 push. — Reuters

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