The Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves are not considered an elite NBA matchup, but their game Tuesday night had a fair amount of drama.
The Jazz were trailing the Wolves 84-80 in the fourth quarter, where Wolves second-year guard Shabazz Muhammad was going off. With just over seven minutes remaining, Muhammad had eight points in the quarter, 25 for the game, before he hit a corner three in front of the Jazz bench.
At the end of the play, it appears Muhammad does a popular celebration in front of the Jazz bench.
Though it’s tough to see, Muhammad looks down the Jazz bench and does the popular “three goggles” celebration:
It set the Jazz off. Jazz forward Trevor Booker hit a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, sparking a 20-7 run by the Jazz in a comeback victory. Though there wasn’t much in the way of big, dramatic shots, the Jazz choked the Wolves’ offence while forward Gordon Hayward scored 11 points down the stretch.
After the game, Jazz players said Muhammad’s celebration set them off. Forward Derrick Favours admitted it made the Jazz take it into another gear:
“Yeah, we take that stuff personally. When he did that, I guess guys started taking it personally and it made us come out there and play harder.”
Hayward said of Muhammad’s celebration, “I don’t think any of us were happy about that. But we should be able to get mad without people doing stuff like that.”
Booker and coach Quin Snyder both played it more coyly, with Snyder saying “I’m sure it might have [motivated the Jazz.” Booker said something must have clicked with the team, denied that he saw Muhammad’s celebration, but then noted, “Ask him how the ‘L’ feels.”
At 5-25, perhaps the Wolves want to take the celebrations down a notch.
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