Ridnour’s Buzzer-Beater Lifts Wolves Past Jazz
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Luke Ridnour hit a floater in the lane at the buzzer, capping Minnesota’s comeback from 16 points down in the fourth quarter as the Timberwolves beat the Utah Jazz 100-98 on Wednesday night.
Utah’s Al Jefferson sank a jumper with Kevin Love in his face to tie the score at 98 with 7 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Ridnour took a pass from J.J. Barea, drove the lane, and sank a shot over Jefferson as the buzzer sounded.
WCCO’s Call of Ridnour’s Game-Winner
Barea finished 22 points and tied a career high with five 3-pointers, and Ridnour added 17 points. Nikola Pekovic, playing through an ankle injury, added 15 points with 12 rebounds.
Paul Millsap scored 25 and Josh Howard added a season-high 19 to lead the Jazz, who lost their third straight and stumble into the All-Star break.
Wolves rookie Derrick Williams converted a three-point play with 56.7 seconds left to tie the score at 93, then got fouled attempting a fastbreak layup after Love’s steal. Williams made both free throws with 42.5 seconds left to give Minnesota its first lead since 2-0, and the Timberwolves didn’t trail again.
Gordon Hayward had a chance to tie it with 28.7 seconds to play, but missed the second of two free throws.
The Wolves enter the All-Star break at .500 or better for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Barea and Ridnour cut Utah’s lead to 91-90 with just over two minutes to play. Ridnour also made two free throws with 26.3 seconds left to extend Minnesota’s lead to 97-94.
The Wolves have fallen behind by 14 or more points in 12 of their last 21 games, but are 12-9 over that stretch. Their latest comeback was their largest of the season.
Utah built a big lead early and kept pounding the ball inside to stay ahead. The Jazz — second in the NBA in points in the paint per game — finished with 58 points inside.
The Jazz lost their third straight and fourth consecutive on the road. They’ve had two road losing streaks of four or more games this season.
Howard started for Raja Bell, who missed the game with a strained left adductor.
Minnesota shot just 31 percent in the first half with their starting frontcourt of Love, Pekovic and Wes Johnson going a combined 2 for 19.
Love finished 3 of 14, but Barea and Ridnour got hot to make up for it.
Minnesota ended up shooting 40.3 percent in the game.
Postgame Interview with Luke Ridnour
NOTES: Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on Derrick Favors, Jermey Evans and Gordon Hayward participating in All-Star competitions: “It’s a tremendous reward for them to be a part of it and we look forward to having them be a part of the game on Sunday instead of the Saturday night game at some point in their career.” … Utah owes the Wolves a protected first-round draft choice this summer if it makes the playoffs. Right now the Jazz are 10th in the West. … Barea’s 22 were the most he’s scored since scoring 21 against Oklahoma City on May 21 of last season.
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