Minnesota came in trying to break a four-game losing streak, while the Suns just want to get healthy at home.
Oh, and the Suns had a recently-dumped-by-Minny Dario Saric that has been feeling pretty good lately — nearly averaging a double-double for the past five games — and he stepped it up even further in this one.
Saric made 6 of his first 7 shots for 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds while spending an unexpected amount of the night checking Karl-Anthony Towns.
By the fourth quarter, the Suns were surging with confidence while the Wolves slumped their shoulders on close calls. The Suns got to every loose ball, and made enough shots to keep the lead despite missing a lot of open threes.
The Suns pushed the lead to 15 on an Aron Baynes hook shot with 3:48 to go. And then 16 when he made his second three of the night.
Saric got it to 19 point lead to complete Dario’s Revenge with just under 2 minutes to go and then both teams emptied their benches.
- Saric: 20 points, 9 rebounds
- Rubio: 16 points, 14 assists (1 turnover)
- Booker: 26 points, 7 assists
- Baynes: 12 points, 4 rebounds in only 15 minutes of time
Suns win, 125-109
Suns: Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky
Wolves: Josh Okogie, Jarrett Culver, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Karl-Anthony Towns
Available: Aron Baynes is available, but will play limited minutes
The Suns started the game hot (3-4 on threes) but allowed the Timberwolves to stay in it with some defensive break downs. Nearly everyone contributed to those breakdowns so there’s no need to name names.
Neither team was playing good defense, though, so the teams were quickly on pace for 140-point nights. Don’t laugh. The Suns have had a few like that recently. Each team made 7 of their first 11 shots.
The Wolves decided to attack the basket, under which Frank Kaminsky was still standing alongside Dario Saric. You can imagine how Frank did against a very aggressive Karl-Anthony Towns on the low block.
When Frank collected his second foul, Monty Williams moved Dario to the center position (rather than bringing in Baynes) and brought Cameron Johnson off the bench to serve as the other big man.
Williams also subbed in Mikal Bridges for Kelly Oubre, who collected two quick fouls of his own.
Baynes finally checked in at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter to LOUD ovation from the fans here. :)
Suns up 33-31 after one quarter, even while giving up 59% shooting to the Wolves thanks to making 59% of their own.
In the second quarter, backup center Gorgi Dieng had a good stint and the Wolves kept even with the Suns while Towns sat out. They couldn’t afford to find themselves down in the minutes he sits.
Oubre is shaking off a rough start to be the big scorer in the second unit while Booker rests. He scored 8 points in the first half of the second quarter.
But the Wolves would not stop scoring, going at the rim on every single play. Just getting the ball on the wing, breaking down the Suns defender, and attacking an open basket with no help defense. Doesn’t matter who — point guards, wings or Towns. Case in point: only 9 assists on 27 made shots.
Halftime: Wolves up 64-61. Wolves shooting 57%. Suns shooting 52%. Towns has 21 and 8 already, while Booker has 12 and 2. Saric and Oubre both have 13 points, while Rubio has 8 assists and 0 turnovers.
Hey now! The Suns came out strong, outscoring the Wolves 12-4 to start the third as they forgot about their star player for a few minutes.
But then the Wolves right the ship after a timeout and scored on consecutive plays while forcing turnovers. Back to a 1-point game.
The Suns pulled back out to an 8-point lead by staying on their game — thanks to Rubio’s sublime playmaking — at 82-74 halfway through the third quarter.
By this time, Dario has 16 points on 6-7 shooting and 8 rebounds, while defending Towns much of the night as Baynes is still working his way back into game shape and Frank was in foul trouble.
By the end of the third, the Suns had a comfortable lead, 94-85. The Wolves had cooled way off, for some reason going away from their constant drives to the rim. Maybe it was the Suns defense stepping up. I’ll take that.
The Wolves started the quarter going back to what was working in the first half, with drives at the rim. And it worked, getting the Suns lead down to 7 with 10 minutes left as the Suns missed some threes.
But then Cam hit. Lead back to 10. And Bridges drove and got the foul. Lead back to 12.
The Wolves came back with one more push, with Towns and Wiggins driving like crazy to get to the line. But the Suns stayed focused and made plays happen with their hustle. They got to every loose ball first, which helped. While the Wolves slumped their shoulders.