Playing without their disgruntled star, the Minnesota Timberwolves got a throwback performance from a former MVP to notch a tough win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Derrick Rose poured in a career-high 50 points to lead the T’wolves to a 128-125 win over the Jazz, the oft-injured guard’s best game since his 2010-11 MVP season when he was one of the most explosive players in the league.
Rose shot 19-of-31 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and 8-of-11 on free throws. His previous career high was 44 for the Chicago Bulls in a second-round playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks on May 6, 2011.
“It still didn’t even hit me yet,” Rose said. “Words can’t explain how I feel right now. It’s been a while.”
Playing without leading scorer Jimmy Butler, who sat out for rest, Rose was clutch late for the T’wolves. He scored 34 points in the second half, including 15 in a tight fourth quarter and six of Minnesota’s final seven.
“He’s been through a lot of adversity. He’s maybe one of the most mentally tough people I’ve ever come across,” said T’wolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who coached Rose in Chicago during his prime seasons.
His up-and-under lay-up put the T’wolves ahead 123-122 with 54.6 seconds left. After the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert made 1-of-2 free throws to tie it, Rose made it 125-123 with a short jumper. Karl-Anthony Towns made a free throw for Minnesota and Dante Exum a dunk for Utah. Rose then hit 50 on a pair of free throws with 13.8 seconds left.
Utah had three chances on its final possession to tie. The Jazz got the offensive rebound after two missed 3-pointers. On the final chance, Rose blocked Exum’s potential tying 3 at the buzzer.
As he waited to give a postgame interview on the court, Rose was showered with a standing ovation. He got emotional and had to cover his teary eyes with a towel for a moment before speaking.