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SALT LAKE CITY -- Monday proved to be a bittersweet day for the Utah Jazz as their second consecutive Western Conference Player of the Week award was followed by their second consecutive loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"(Minnesota) could have beaten a lot of teams tonight. They played us just as tough up there (in Minnesota)," said Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan. "I saw some of the very same things they did to us there that happened tonight. They beat us down the floor, they drove to the basket and we had a tough time rebounding. Any time those kinds of things happen, it doesn't matter what color the uniform is, you're getting beat."
Utah's 108-110 loss to Minnesota in game two of the 2009-2010 series snapped two important streaks - Utah's five-game run at home at Energy Solutions Arena and Minnesota's four-game losing stretch.
Deron Williams, this week's Player of the Week in the Western Conference, delivered yet another award-worthy performance with a season-high 38 points and 13 assists on the night, but was unable to lead the Jazz to their sixth straight home win.
Following forward Carlos Boozer in receiving the Player of the Week award for Utah, Williams racked up 27 points and eight assists in the first two quarters alone, leading the Jazz to a 65-61 halftime score.
Despite controlling the first half with 57 percent shooting from the field, the Jazz were unable to carry the momentum into the next quarter. Defensive breakdowns and decreased offensive execution led to a slow and disappointing third quarter for the Jazz as they relinquished their four-point lead, ending the third down six to the Timberwolves.
Williams, who had scored eight and 19 points in the first and second quarters, respectively, was held to just five third quarter points on three shots from the floor and four free throw attempts.
"(Deron) was trying to get the ball to some other people, that's the biggest thing," Sloan said of Williams' third quarter performance. "He'd have a little bit more daylight by doing that."
Limited to six points in the fourth, Williams managed to come through for the Jazz at crucial points, nailing two penalty free throws and a jump shot late in the game. Working hard to get the Jazz back on top, Williams also tallied his final four assists in the fourth quarter. The last of which came on a critical play inside to forward Andrei Kirilenko who scored under the basket to tie the game at 108 with under 17 seconds left in regulation.
In his last effort to put the Jazz back in the lead, Williams missed a long would-be game-winning three as the clock expired.
Kirilenko, who saw minutes for the first time in seven games due to a lower back strain, said that although the loss is not something to celebrate, the team played hard but just couldn't come out with the win.
"I don't think we feel disrespected for anything in the NBA. Every team in the NBA can beat anybody so that's the rule. We didn't play bad, but not good enough to win."
"I don't think we feel disrespected for anything in the NBA. Every team in the NBA can beat anybody so that's the rule," Kirilenko said. "We didn't play bad, but not good enough to win."
Just nine days ago in their first meeting of the season with the Timberwolves, Williams tallied a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but was also unable to lead the Jazz to victory, giving Minnesota the 108-101 edge in their third win of the season.
In Utah's five games since their loss in Minnesota, Williams' has racked up double-doubles in all but one, leading the Jazz to a 3-1 record for the week and earning Player of the Week recognition.
"It's great for our organization," Williams said of the award. "(But) it kinda hurts now."