Jazz 106, Timberwolves 84

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz spoiled Andrei Kirilenko's return Wednesday night, beating their former player's Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 at EnergySolutions Arena.
Bench players Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, to lead six Jazz players in double figures. That balanced effort helped Utah snap its three-game losing streak and improve to 16-17.
The Jazz's bench outscored the Timberwolves' reserves 53-27, which keyed Utah's third win in the past 10 games.
As for Utah's starters, Paul Millsap scored 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting, Al Jefferson and Jamaal Tinsley each scored 12 points, and Marvin Williams returned from his knee injury to chip in 11 points.
Kevin Love scored 13 points with 10 rebounds, Alexey Shved added 13 points and Kirilenko contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, but it wasn't enough for the cold-shooting Timberwolves.
Minnesota, which continues a road back-to-back against Northwest Division opponents tonight in Denver, only shot 34.5 percent while falling to 14-14. The Jazz shot 49.4 percent and outscored the T-Wolves 56-36 in the paint.
The Timberwolves took a one-point lead into the second quarter, but that's when the Jazz started to blow the game open.
Utah went on a 15-4 run to begin the period, taking a 10-point lead on Enes Kanter's free throws at the 7:44 mark.
The Jazz continued that momentum out of the locker room, scoring the first 13 points out of the break and using a 19-3 run to build a 20-point lead midway through the third quarter.
The Jazz got some bad news earlier in the day when it was determined that usual starting point guard Mo Williams will need surgery on his right thumb.
The procedure will take place Friday in New York City by the doctor that performed surgery on the same thumb in 2008 to repair ligament damage.
Williams, who's missed the past five games with the injury that happened on Dec. 22 in Miami, will sport a splint and will be re-evaluated in six weeks, meaning his earliest return would be Feb. 23.
"He's frustrated," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He's disappointed in the fact that he had to have surgery. He thought he was feeling better and he would do OK to come back a little sooner, but it's the smart thing to do and it's the right thing to do for him."
Kirilenko called his return to Utah "strange." In fact, the Russian forward said he didn't even know where visitors locker room was located in the arena he called home for the first 10 years of his NBA career.
Kirilenko still owns a home in Salt Lake City -- one that he said looked "lonely" when he visited it Tuesday night. He smiled when asked what he hopes his legacy will be with Jazz fans.
"I've always been a fan of being remembered as a good person rather than just a good player," he said. "I think if the people remember you as a good personality, I think it goes a long way rather than just being a good player but being a jackass or whatever."

NOTES: Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio missed his second consecutive game because of back spasms and is questionable for the Wolves' contest Thursday night at Denver. ... Recent addition Lazar Hayward, signed on Dec. 31, did not play in his first game back with the Wolves. ... Jazz coaches Tyrone Corbin and Sidney Lowe both played for Minnesota. Lowe was the Wolves' head coach from 1992-94. Utah has also two players -- Jefferson and Randy Foye -- who previously called Minnesota home. ... The Jazz play five of their next six games on the road, where they've struggled to a 6-13 record. ... Corbin on the rejuvenated Kirilenko claiming his 31-year-old legs feel like they're 25: "He's always saying that," joked Corbin, who coached the forward in Utah as an assistant and head coach for seven years. "He'll change next week and say he's old because he's been playing so long."

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