Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
It was not a game for NBA fans looking to for a cheap thrill. This game had all the aesthetics of a high school basketball game at some points. But the Suns found a way to lose anyway.
This may be the pot calling the kettle black, but the Minnesota Timberwolves are in real bad shape. For 53 minutes of "NBA Basketball" the T-Wolves and the Phoenix Suns traded glancing blow after wildly missed hay-maker until the final buzzer sounded. And then sounded again.
Instead of the game being called for basketball reasons it went to overtime where the Suns (19-38) collected the 84-83 win over the Wolves (20-34).
The game began very sloppy for both teams, riddled with turnovers and bad shots. Ricky Rubio began the game playing off the ball as much as on it, and Suns fans know its not a good idea to take the ball out of the PGs hands. Sure, Luke Ridnour is a good PG too, but he was not very effective either.
The only Sun who seemed completely focused from the tip was P.J. Tucker, who grabbed three rebounds on hustle in the first six minutes. None of the Wolves were focused either, so there's that. The Suns had a 10-6 lead after more than 6 minutes of play and that was the best half of the quarter. The first ended with a 16-15 Suns lead. After 12 minutes.
Do we credit incredible defense, including several blocked layups? Or horrible offense?
Let's let the second quarter decide.
The Suns started the second quarter on an 8-0 run in only two minutes, forcing Minnesota to call a timeout. Maybe it's too warm in Phoenix? I don't know. The Wolves have missed a lot of open shots, but the Suns have also played stingy defense at the rim.
Michael Beasley used his touch around the rim to get a couple of "shooters rolls", getting the ball to drop after hitting the rim at least once. For all the misses, it's got to be nice to see the ball bounce the Suns' way sometimes.
The Suns woke up in the second quarter while the Wolves didn't, winning the quarter 32-18. Was nice to see the Suns get a little separation from a team.
The second half started little better than the first for either team with both teams' offenses sputtering, err I mean, both teams' defense dominating. The Suns scored only 4 points in the third quarter's first 5 minutes, while the Wolves ripped off 10 big points to cut the lead to 8 at 51-43.
Derrick Williams was definitely the best tweener forward of the 2011 draft on the floor tonight, with both Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris having trouble getting their rhythm while Williams was the Wolves only offensive threat.
Have I said this was an ugly game? Well, it's still ugly.
The Suns offense continued to sputter, and the Wolves climbed back into this war of attrition (or, ping pong balls?). The Suns started getting beaten to rebounds and the Wolves briefly cut the Suns' lead to 6.
As Markieff Morris picked up his fourth foul with 3 minutes left in the third, I wished we could clone him so we wouldn't have to end the foul fest prematurely.
Oh wait! We can...
But Markieff stayed in the game (unless he switched jerseys with his brother), and the Suns scored only 11 points in the entire quarter. Ugh.
15 points in the first. 11 in the third. Yet somehow, the Suns held a 7-point lead going into the 4th, 58-51, as the Wolves were even worse. Between the teams, there were only 31 combined points in the first quarter and 29 combined points in the third. That's 60 TOTAL points over two quarters folks.
But the second and fourth were much better for both teams. Ricky Rubio finally turned it on for the Wolves, getting 8 assists in a matter of minutes after tallying only 1 in the first 2+ quarters.
The Wolves even took a one-point lead with a minute left in this suddenly-seesaw affair on a strange play where Dragic was mugged (no call) and Dante Cunningham drew a questionable foul on a fast break layup.
Then the Suns failed miserably on a couple of late possessions giving the T-Wolves countless chances to close out the game. Neither team wanted it, but in the end missed open shots and turnovers that nearly cost the Suns a winnable game late and allowed overtime.
Overtime, that is a treat for the fans, right?
Not tonight as the teams combined for three field goals in an anticlimactic finish affording the Wolves a few more ping-pong balls tonight. There is always a silver lining. Somebody had to lose and thanks to a missed lay-up by Alexey Shved the Suns were that team in literally the final second.