Midway through the 3rd quarter, Karl-Anthony Towns attempted to throw down a vicious fastbreak dunk over Marquese Chriss. He missed, but the long carom bounded out to a wide open Andrew Wiggins, who buried a 3-pointer to give the Minnesota Timberwolves a 16-point lead and prompt a timeout by the Phoenix Suns. That play typified the day for Phoenix, who eventually fell 119-108 in Minnesota.
The Suns were without leading scorer Devin Booker, who was out with a sore big toe, but even if he had suited up, it probably wouldn’t have done much to staunch the bleeding on the glass. Minnesota outrebounded Phoenix 48-37, including 19-11 on the offensive boards. Taj Gibson (14 rebounds) and Towns (12 rebounds) did the majority of the damage in that regard, but Gorgui Dieng was impactful off the bench as well with six of his own (four offensive). Towns led the T-Wolves with 32 points, Jimmy Butler had 25 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 21.
The Suns’ bench provided a big lift in Booker’s absence, scoring 61 of Phoenix’s 108 points. Mike James had a career-high 26 points off the bench to go along with seven assists and five rebounds and started the game 5 of 5 from the field but made just 5 of 15 afterward. Troy Daniels had 13 points, Dragan Bender pitched in nine points, Jared Dudley had six points and six assists, and Chriss had seven points and seven boards. T.J. Warren couldn’t replicate his output from the last meeting between these two teams, finishing with 18 points in 38 minutes.
Phoenix shot 50.6 percent from the field and made 13 of 26 3-pointers but allowed the T-Wolves to shoot 52.7 percent themselves, bolstered by 66 Minnesota points in the paint. The Suns never led in the 2nd half after trailing 63-58 at halftime.
Josh Jackson received his fourth career start in place of the injured Booker but had five points and five fouls in 23 minutes. Greg Monroe received his second straight start on the front line alongside Tyson Chandler. Alex Len received another DNP-CD. Jeff Teague sat out for the Timberwolves, with Tyus Jones starting in his place.