The Minnesota Timberwolves were able to pull off a 123-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. A vicious rookie in Anthony Edwards and a superstar performance game by Karl Anthony-Towns combined for a point total of 83 points.
Devin Booker who earned the player of the game for the Suns showed that even when he is hot from the field, he will still continue to trust his teammates with wide-open shots, but the offense dwindled in the end to find any luck.
The turnovers were definitely the talk of the Valley with the Suns surrendering a total of 22 for the game. The target on the Suns back is big as any team in the league will take on the challenge to dismantle a Western Conference beast.
The Suns began the game aggressive on defense and offense by forcing four turnovers within the first three minutes of the game and throwing down a couple dunks in the hands of Deandre Ayton and Booker. Booker was back to being “first quarter Book”, getting to his spots on the floor and forcing up great looks and ended the first quarter with 16 points including the quarter ending 3-point make!
The T-Wolves returned the favor by forcing turnovers and taking advantage of errant passes. Ayton headed to the bench early with two fouls giving Towns more room to roam on the floor. Mikal Bridges switched to guarding Towns, but the size advantage was too massive for Bridges to handle.
Edwards who now touches the ball for the T-Wolves every possession is the offense for his team along with Towns. An aggressive suiter to the basket, Edwards started the game with seven shot attempts and seven points.
Turnovers for the Suns reached ten by the end of the first quarter!
The T-Wolves were able to put a lid on their early game spill of turnovers by playing iso-ball between Towns and Edwards.
Edwards started the second quarter as nearly unguidable. The Zion Williamson effect has begun with Edwards having complete control of the offense. Two straight threes and a dunk lead to a early second quarter timeout for the Suns.
The Suns had to battle Edwards every possession who was hot from three. Mikal and Ayton entered the game halfway through the second quarter to lift the Suns offense with a 3-pointer made by Mikal and a couple easy shots under the rim from Ayton (one leading to free-throws).
Turnovers continued to pile up for the Suns ending the first half with 14 of them but held on to a 58-53 lead. Both Towns and Edwards combined on 6-12 shooting from three doing the best they could to keep things close.
Suns 58, KAT/Edwards Duo 41 at the half.— Suns JAM Session Podcast (@SunsJAM) March 19, 2021
The rest of the Timberwolves have combined for 12 points.
Ayton was able to put together a solid second half with 8 PTS and 5 REB along with Booker leading the Suns with 21 points.
Booker with two alley-oop finishes christened the start of the third quarter in shining the light on the Suns lead. Finding the open shooters with coverage sinking into the middle of the paint, Booker was able to spread the wealth on the offensive end.
Bridges in the paint is always good. The three point shots continued to fall for him and the open lanes were there for fade-away 12-footers. Realizing they are the better team and taking care of the ball, Booker and Bridges looked dominant.
7:23 left in the 3rd quarter and Booker has his the 30-point mark... then added a lay-up to increase his point total to 32. Booker may be looking forward to hanging out with newly signed Torrey Craig who is sitting in the audience for this game. The rest of the night off looked to come sooner than later for the Suns starting lineup.
Ayton, like the first quarter headed to the bench picking up his fourth foul as the T-Wolves were able to cut back into the lead, trailing by seven.
Langston Galloway, who had a good fist half of the game with five points, came back into the game in a crucial last four minutes of the third quarter. A look on the floor that presented four guards in Booker, Abdel Nadar, Galloway, and Cam Payne, along with Dario Saric playing the five. This group was able to keep the game a little further out of reach heading into the fourth quarter before Jevon Carter replaced Booker with a minute left. The lead was a tight one- 91-83.
The lead with 9:06 in the fourth quarter was cut down to six points. A timeout was called and the starters might be heading back into the game early.
Starters in when?— Craig | ☀️ (@CraigAHamil) March 19, 2021
Bridges back into the game, again gave the Suns offense a lift with a 3-point make. But back -to-back threes from the T-Wolves cut the lead down to three!
The 5-minute mark. Suns led 107-104.
Towns was able to knock down a three to tie the game but Booker came back with an easy two. Both Edwards and Towns were going head-to-head against Booker. The only offense at that moment coming from the Suns was Booker.
The Suns trailed with 2-minutes left in the game 115-113 before Booker was able to get to the line and cut it to one, missing 1-2 from the line.
With the T-Wolves up 120-116 and 38 seconds left in the game, Jae Crowder was able to cut the lead to two. The free throw game began and the Suns end up losing 123-119.