LOS ANGELES – Derrick Rose dusted off his MVP costume, dropping a career-high 50 points to power the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 128-125 win over Utah in an NBA Northwest Division showdown on Wednesday.
On US Halloween night, Rose turned back the clock with a 34-point performance in the second half as the crowd of 10,000 serenaded him with chants of “MVP, MVP” after the final buzzer sounded.
“It was numbing,” said teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 28 points. “I never realized something like that in my life. The man was just out there floating.”
Rose, who was named NBA MVP in 2011 with the Chicago Bulls, scored every way imaginable against the Jazz.
He made two clutch free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Timberwolves a three-point lead in a tightly contested fourth quarter. Just moments earlier he had scored the go-ahead basket down low to put Minnesota ahead for good.
Rose also made a key block on a Jazz three-point attempt with two seconds left to ice the win.
“This means everything,” said Rose, who was making his first start of the season and first in a Timberwolves uniform. “I worked my butt off, bro.”
Rose's career had been beset by injuries since he won his MVP award.
“I am doing everything just to win. I played my heart out tonight. My teammates told me before the game to just play my game and it was a hell of a night.”
Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Rudy Gobert added 22 for Utah. Jae Crowder tallied 18 points off the bench.
Minnesota played without the all-star Jimmy Butler, or point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)