NBA Defensive Participant of the 12 months front-runner Rudy Gobert blamed himself for the Utah Jazz’s 105-104 loss on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night time, saying his botched execution that led to D’Angelo Russell’s game-winning layup made him “really feel dumb.”
“If I do not f— up the final play defensively, we find yourself with a win,” Gobert mentioned after the league-leading Jazz’s second loss to the 18-44 Timberwolves in three nights.
Utah (44-17), which had one other poor capturing efficiency with out injured All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the lead on a Mike Conley 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Gobert was defending Minnesota middle Karl-Anthony Cities on the free throw line because the Timberwolves began their inbounds play. Cities screened for Anthony Edwards and, as Russell screened Gobert, popped out to the perimeter effectively above the 3-point arc.
Conley and Gobert initially switched, placing Conley and Cities and Gobert on Russell. Nonetheless, after a second, Gobert inexplicably left Russell alone on the free throw line, scampering out towards Cities. Ricky Rubio handed to Russell, who took one step earlier than laying the ball in with no Utah defender close to him.
“It’s very on me,” Gobert mentioned. “[Conley] was already on the market. We switched, and I ought to have acknowledged that. He did what he was imagined to do, and I did not, so 200 % on me. … Mike did precisely what he needed to do, and I did not. It is a type of performs, if you watch a replay, you simply really feel dumb. It is a type of. It does not occur rather a lot, however one hundred pc on me, for certain.”
Russell, who completed with 27 factors and 12 assists, made the layup with 4.2 seconds remaining.
The Jazz didn’t get a shot up on their final possession, as Conley dedicated a turnover.
“Only a powerful two performs down the stretch for us,” Conley mentioned. “We have to be higher in that state of affairs.”
Cities, who had 21 factors and 11 assists, was gleeful he commanded a lot consideration that it created such a straightforward alternative for Russell at a essential juncture.
“I can not stress how good it felt,” Cities mentioned. “All sport, I had a lot consideration on me. They did a superb job of doing their defensive sport plan, however I advised D-Lo, ‘How good does that really feel? That you simply’re on a workforce with somebody who attracts as a lot consideration as you, or much more, the place the final play of the sport generally is a game-winning layup by your self as a result of each folks went to me at half courtroom.'”
The loss allowed the Phoenix Suns to shut inside one sport of the Jazz for the league’s finest report and the highest seed within the Western Convention. But the Jazz shrugged off concern about their state of affairs, emphasizing that their major targets are to be wholesome and taking part in effectively when the playoffs start.
“We’re nonetheless very assured,” Conley mentioned. “We’re studying, they usually’re nice classes for us going into the playoffs. Hopefully, we’re getting them out now, earlier than we get to the time that we’re taking part in higher competitors.”