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Timberwolves end 9-game road losing streak

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Minnesota ended a nine-game road losing streak and dealt a crushing setback to Utah's diminishing homes for home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Although the Timberwolves are lottery-bound once again this summer, they showed how they can still rattle the postseason seedings by beating the Jazz 103-102 on Friday night, ending Utah's 15-game home winning streak.

"I think we put a little shock in their plans," said Rodney Carney, who scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Gomes also scored 25 points, and Mike Miller had 14 points and nine rebounds for Minnesota, which outrebounded Utah 42-28.

The Jazz hadn't lost at home since late January, but have struggled to a 14-23 record on the road. Of Utah's six remaining games, only two are at home.

Deron Williams finished with 34 points and 11 assists, but missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won it for the Jazz.

"These are tough games. You're playing against people that don't have much pressure on them," said Phil Johnson, who coached the Jazz with Jerry Sloan in Illinois for his brother's funeral. "You're playing against a team that's free and easy and we've got pressure on us."

The Jazz, who led by 15, wilted under the pressure and the frustration showed at the end. Williams thought he was fouled by Kevin Ollie on the final shot and shouted at the officials as they left the floor before he finally went to the locker room.

"I thought D-Will got fouled," Utah's Carlos Boozer said. "Ollie bumped him a little bit. They could have called that foul. They called less fouls with less contact during the game but sometimes the refs are going to let you play."

Boozer finished just 1-for-9 from the floor with six points and five rebounds.

Kyle Korver scored 19 points for Utah, and Andrei Kirilenko had 13, going 6-for-7 from the floor and blocking three shots, but Mehmet Okur was the only Utah starter other than Williams to reach double figures, finishing with 11. "It's a bad loss," Williams said. "There's no other way to sugar coat it." Minnesota hadn't beaten Utah this season and was winless on the road since beating the Heat on Feb. 18 in Miami.

"We found a couple things that worked out," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "Our guys made some nice passes and we had some pretty good movement out there."

The pesky Timberwolves rallied each time the Jazz pulled slightly ahead, then won it in the final minute to send the Jazz on a three-game road trip with their third straight loss. The Jazz are on the road next starting Sunday at New Orleans, followed by games at Dallas and San Antonio -- where they haven't won in more than 10 years.

The Jazz had blown double-digit leads in the second half of their last two home games and needed to rally to win both. Utah continued living dangerously Friday, when Minnesota came back from 15-points behind and this time the Jazz couldn't come from behind.

"We had enough points to win the game. We just didn't get enough stops," Boozer said.

Carney hit a 3-pointer with a minute left that put the Wolves ahead 101-98, then after a tip-in by Paul Millsap got the Jazz back within a point, Miller connected from 22 feet to stretch the lead back to three.

Williams quickly drove for a layup with 27 seconds left to cut it to 103-102 and the Jazz chose not to foul on Minnesota's next possession, forcing Gomes to take a 25-foot shot that bounced off the rim. Kirilenko got the rebound and called a timeout with 2.3 seconds to go.

Minnesota called a timeout after the Jazz lined up for the inbounds pass and reset the defense. Williams came off a screen and got a good look at the basket from about 16 feet, but he was way off and the buzzer sounded.

"Some teams are fighting for certain positions," Gomes said. "We've got to go out there and I guess got to try to be spoilers or whatever you want to call it."

Williams had been saving the Jazz most of the night, drawing a foul from Sebastian Telfair at the top of the key for a four-point play in the third quarter. Williams went right through Telfair's meek foul and took a 3-pointer off of one foot as he flew toward the basket. The ball banked in and Williams added a free throw to give the Jazz a 77-72 lead.

Notes: Gomes went 10-for-20 and had eight rebounds. ... Utah G C.J. Miles left the game at halftime because of a dislocated finger on his left hand. He did not return. ... After opening the game 2-for-8, the Jazz finished the first half 19-for-37. ... Williams had 26 points through three quarters.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Doug Alden Sports Writer


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