Coming off of their highest offensive output of the season in Saturday's 125-105 win over the Lakers, the Suns again lit up the scoreboard in Minnesota tonight, winning 114-90 behind more excellent bench play and double-digit scoring from five players.
Shannon Brown continued his prolific scoring since he entered the starting lineup with 17, rookie Markieff Morris went for 21 and Sebastian Telfair had one of his finest games as a member of the team with 14 points and seven assists. Effective bench play allowed the Suns to play all of their starters fewer than 30 minutes.
The Wolves were led by Kevin Love's 25 points and 13 rebounds but the Suns threw a few different players at him defensively and held Love to 7-19 shooting. This wasn't much of a contest from the second quarter on, after the Suns bench came in and built a lead that got as large as 15 in the first half. A small Wolves push to close the first half and start the second brought them as close as 56-51 before a 15-2 Phoenix run buried Minnesota for good at 71-53.
The win was the Suns second in a row, 7th out of their last 10 games, and pushes them three games over .500 for the first time this season. But wins by the Nuggets and Jazz leave the Suns in 9th place in the West, one game out of the final playoff spot. They did gain a 1/2 game on the idle Mavericks and are also one game behind them for the 7th spot.
Follow the jump for more notes and the roll call.
- Bench play was again the difference for the Suns, as they outscored the Wolves bench 66-27, with Morris and Telfair leading the way. What has gotten into these guys? A weakness for most of the season, the Suns bench has more than carried their share of the load in the last two games, both must-wins.
- As much as we want to celebrate this effort, and it was impressive in a few ways, the Wolves are a team that is both banged up and looks to be mailing it in at this point. Outside of Love, they put up little resistance.
- Nikola Pekovic again gave Marcin Gortat problems, as Gortat committed 3 personal fouls in the first half and scored only four points in 21 minutes. But he did grab seven rebounds, and Robin Lopez filled in well with strong post defense and three blocked shots.
- With Shannon Brown playing so well as a starter and Redd rounding into condition, the Suns have not missed Grant Hill as much as we had feared. Paul Coro reported that Hill worked out hard before the game and looks to be close to returning, so it will be a nice problem for Gentry to have to decide how to divvy up those wing minutes.
- With 21 points tonight, Morris has now scored in double figures in three of his five games since returning from the flu. He looked to have hit a rookie wall in mid-March but he's producing as well as he has all season now.
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