Jeff Teague Decks Ricky Rubio And Sends Him Flying

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Congratulations to whoever had the under in the “How long will it take for the Minnesota Timberwolves to unravel without the injured Jimmy Butler?” pool.

They didn’t even make it four games, coming apart on Friday night against the scorching Utah Jazz in a game that featured five technical fouls, a flagrant 2, and three ejections.

The first to depart: Karl-Anthony Towns, via a pair of techs.

His first came after his elbowing Jazz wing Jae Crowder in the face.

His second offense was far less offensive—arguing with an official.

Then, with the game slipping away from his team, Timberwolves point guard Jeff Teague got roasted on consecutive possessions by rookie guard Donovan Mitchell. During Utah’s next trip down the floor, Teague went not after Mitchell, but his backcourtmate—Teague checked Ricky Rubio toward the seats.

Soon after, Crowder and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau got into a heated debate, earning technicals for each. It was Crowder’s second, making him the third ejected player of the night.

Mitchell dropped 26 in the Jazz’s 116-108 victory, much of it on Teague and Andrew Wiggins.

After the game, Butler applauded Teague for helping guarantee the team’s defeat by bravely going after the guy who wasn’t making him look like a traffic cone on D.

There’s cause for Minnesotan frustration. The Timberwolves won their first two games after losing Butler, but to the bottom-feeding Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls. They’ve now lost two straight, to teams they’re competing with to be among the eight Western Conference teams to reach the playoffs, the Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers. 

The Blazers are currently in third in the conference, and the Jazz, presently 10th, are just four games behind Portland, two behind Minnesota, and one behind the No. 8 Denver Nuggets.

Utah has won 13 of their last 15, a streak that started two games after the return of the injured Rudy Gobert.