It was another close loss as the Minnesota Timberwolves closed out at home with a 111-109 win over the Suns. Some impressive box scores from the Suns as Markieff Morris finished with 31 points and Alex Len flirted with a triple-double, accumulating 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks.
For me at least the main takeaway from this game should be the way the Suns played in the second half. While it wasn't pretty, the Suns played hard and they were moving the ball so well compared to their previous games this season.
I think I can speak for most that if we see the ball move like this and the guys play hard this half of the season will be a success no matter the result. For more analysis on the game check out the quarter breakdowns below.
Suns got out to a very good start and were really moving the ball. A good chunk of their offense was actually built around a lot of Gerald Green having the ball and while he only shot 1-5, he moved the ball with 2 assists. This was surprising because of Bledsoe being the only capable ball handler on the roster for the night.
The defense was what you would expect with Kevin Martin getting 8 points on Gerald Green. Andrew Wiggins continued his "yeah I'm going to be really really good" tour with a 3-3 start to the quarter.
The biggest story of the quarter was Archie Goodwin, who showcased what he can do attacking with a crazy crossover and finish at the rim, but more importantly he had a great pass to Keef for an and-1. He was doing this to Zach LaVine, but he looked good.
I was eager to see the lineups the Suns would go to off the bench and Hornacek went with Goodwin-Warren-Morrii-Wright at the end of the first quarter. Might as well right? The Wolves were with the Suns in terms of experimenting with their rotation, going with a Lavine-Wiggins-Muhammad-Payne-Dieng against that lineup. It was interesting to say the least.
Because the Wolves are the Wolves, that slight burst from Archie was enough to get the Suns back into the game and it ended 26-24 Wolves.
I blacked out for about 7 minutes when Archie made a three. Anyway, he continued to look good and some Bledsoe foul trouble allowed him to see out the quarter.
I'm not sure what exactly to call it, but the lack of true "experience" in just about every player on the roster started to catch on and the Wolves would lead by as many as 12 midway through the quarter. It was just a lot of brain farts on both sides of the ball. Those small mistakes kill you.
The Suns are really going to need to get the best out of both Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green (even when he goes back to the bench) to win games for the rest of the season and they did not get this in the first half.
One notable thing here was that Reggie Bullock did not see the floor until Green pissed Hornacek off enough. I did not think that Bullock would miss the rotation, but it looked like he did.
One last thing I noticed was that along with the first quarter, Green was getting a lot more looks off the ball and more of an opportunity to create with the ball in his hands. I'm assuming that this was Hornacek running the sets that will eventually be Brandon Knight's. I liked the look of them and one even had an Alex Len high post touch!
This was the Suns best quarter of the game. Bledsoe and Keef came out with a bunch of energy and maybe realized that the team can't afford off nights from them. Bledsoe in particular was really working hard and Keef had it going all night against either Anthony Bennett or Gorgui Dieng.
At the end of the quarter we got more "good Archie" and "bad Archie", which will probably be the story of his season. He's going to need to really work on defense and overall floor sense, but that's what these minutes are going to help develop.
Overall, this was a great quarter because the Suns showed great energy, the ball was moving a lot more, and everyone looked happy with what was happening. This is an improvement.
The Suns carried over the energy and ball movement from the third quarter and carried it over. I found the team from last year. Regardless of the result, Green and Goodwin were really trying on defense and Keef spent most of this half banging down low with Gorgui Dieng on both ends.
T.J. Warren had an off night. His unique way of scoring requires some insane touch for the ball and when that is off he will have a rough night. He's going to have these every now and then and it was just one of those nights for him.
The Timberwolves showed their ways here and allowed the Suns to stay in the game despite the "very good very bad" sporadic style of play they had tonight.
A back and forth one possession game went down to the wire, but the Suns had a couple of brain farts on both ends that would wind up being enough to determine the outcome of the game. This has happened a lot this year, but with that in mind it didn't feel like all the other losses did. The energy was there and it was a good result in my opinion.
Remember, there was no Brandon Knight and there are still holes on the roster that will be filled.