Coming off of their highest offensive output of the season in Saturday's 125-105 win over the Lakers, the Suns again lit up the scoreboard in Minnesota tonight, winning 114-90 behind more excellent bench play and double-digit scoring from five players.
Shannon Brown continued his prolific scoring since he entered the starting lineup with 17, rookie Markieff Morris went for 21 and Sebastian Telfair had one of his finest games as a member of the team with 14 points and seven assists. Effective bench play allowed the Suns to play all of their starters fewer than 30 minutes.
The Wolves were led by Kevin Love's 25 points and 13 rebounds but the Suns threw a few different players at him defensively and held Love to 7-19 shooting. This wasn't much of a contest from the second quarter on, after the Suns bench came in and built a lead that got as large as 15 in the first half. A small Wolves push to close the first half and start the second brought them as close as 56-51 before a 15-2 Phoenix run buried Minnesota for good at 71-53.
The win was the Suns second in a row, 7th out of their last 10 games, and pushes them three games over .500 for the first time this season. But wins by the Nuggets and Jazz leave the Suns in 9th place in the West, one game out of the final playoff spot. They did gain a 1/2 game on the idle Mavericks and are also one game behind them for the 7th spot.
Follow the jump for more notes and the roll call.
Roll Call: twitte07, Aztiramtempe, noonoo, jc79, phxpurple, shawndy, atkammoh, sonicking, Dickwan Sasser, rsavaj, wedge1039, thedoovage, Catamaran1, waxmonkey, jatrex4suns, Antwuan, East Bay Ray, JoeWisco, Turambar, paulimer, ThatOtherCanadianKid, Airwave, PhoenixSons, nashisamazing, DukeNukeco, nashran3, ericscholwinski, Piotr Szczesniak, Suns2flyy, brian13, PHXSunsRunNGun, suns68, SS21, Scott Howard, SUNS PORTUGAL, Chafid Ahmad, troglodytes, Mint, suns90, marionette, Toon Army Sun, Colton Dodson, 2NASHTY, PatrickPetersonAZ, Fritzy, NashMV3, SmokinKieff, Not Disclosing My Name, BringBackBarkley17, modernage13, Dragic_is_Magic, 7footer, KnowGood, sreekar13, MMotherwell, STUPID KERR, blank_38, WilliAG, KholdStare88, blanke, Cynical Jason, haremoor, Omaha Sun (in spirit)
Total Users: 62 (+1 in spirit)
Total Posts: 708
Total Threads: 2
|Name||# of Posts|
|East Bay Ray||19|
|Toon Army Sun||6|
|Not Disclosing My Name||5|
A little sloppy with 10 turnovers, Gortat in foul trouble again with 3, but Suns still leading 53-45 behind 31 bench points, 12 from Markieff Morris. Suns defense held Timberwolves to only 34% shooting from the field.
Roll Call: Toon Army Sun, Colton Dodson, 2NASHTY, phxpurple, atkammoh, PatrickPetersonAZ, Fritzy, East Bay Ray, Scott Howard, NashMV3, Chafid Ahmad, SmokinKieff, jatrex4suns, ericscholwinski, Not Disclosing My Name, sonicking, BringBackBarkley17, Aztiramtempe, Dickwan Sasser, Antwuan, brian13, modernage13, Suns2flyy, SUNS PORTUGAL, PHXSunsRunNGun, Dragic_is_Magic, 7footer, waxmonkey, KnowGood, marionette, sreekar13, ThatOtherCanadianKid, twitte07, shawndy, MMotherwell, STUPID KERR, blank_38, Piotr Szczesniak, DukeNukeco, WilliAG, JoeWisco, KholdStare88, noonoo, blanke, thedoovage, PhoenixSons, paulimer, suns68, troglodytes, Cynical Jason, rsavaj, jc79, wedge1039, haremoor
Total Users: 54
Total Posts: 341
Total Threads: 1
|Name||# of Posts|
|East Bay Ray||10|
|Toon Army Sun||6|
|Not Disclosing My Name||5|
When we last saw the Timberwolves, they hung 127 points on the Suns in Phoenix behind 14-22 3-point shooting, Nikola Pekovic outplaying Marcin Gortat, who was in foul trouble most of the night, and three bench players scoring in double figures in a 127-124 Wolves win.
It was a disappointing loss for a Suns team that was starting to gain momentum last month and had beaten the Wolves nine consecutive times before that game, but turned out to be a mere bump in the road as Phoenix won their next four and have climbed back into the playoff race at 29-27
The Wolves, meanwhile, have fallen on hard times, posting a 3-11 record since that March 12th victory, including their current five-game losing streak. Their record now stands at 25-32, and Minnesota is all but eliminated from playoff contention. They've been missing rising star point guard Ricky Rubio, out for the season due to a knee injury, and his backup Luke Ridnour is also currently out with a sprained ankle.
In the Wolves' last three games, they've lost to the worst teams in the Western Conference: the Kings, Warriors and Hornets. This, Suns fans, is a team on the skids. But they still have All-Star Kevin Love, the gigantic Pekovic, and scorers Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams.
With 10 games left in a playoff race, trailing the 8th spot by a game, the Suns can't afford to slip up against a sputtering Wolves team.
The Suns are coming off their best offensive performance of the season in a 125-105 win over the Lakers Saturday night. Michael Redd and Shannon Brown exploded for a combined 47 points, Phoenix made 14 3-point shots and committed only 3 turnovers. In the 7 games Brown has started since Grant Hill went down with his knee injury, he's averaging 17.6 PPG and 4.3 RPG on 45% FG shooting.
Redd looks to be rounding into better health and conditioning and is providing the scoring pop in short stretches that the Suns have needed from a bench player, averaging 8,0 PPG in 14.4 MPG and leading the Suns in points/36 minutes with 20.0. The low risk signing of a player whose skill set exactly fits the Suns needs was a major win for the Suns front office, as Wil noted.
In the last meeting, Pekovic thorougly outplayed Gortat, scoring 24 points and getting Gortat into foul trouble. Gortat scored only 8 points to go with 4 rebounds in 20 minutes of action, but still had a chance to be the hero before missing two critical FTs late in the game. I'm looking forward to a Gortat redemption game tonight. At 290 lbs, Pekovic has a size advantage on Gortat, but he doesn't have the agility and quickness to keep up with our hard-working Pole. Gortat needs to show that tonight, and I expect he will.
This game has the potential to look similar to Saturday night's Lakers game, as Wolves bigs Love and Pekovic will be hard to handle, but the Suns should be able to continue their high-scoring ways against a Wolves team that does't play strong defense.
ESPN2 will broadcast the game, and I'm sure that looked much better to their programming directors when it figured to be a Ricky Rubio/Steve Nash matchup. They'll have to settle for J.J. Barea instead of Rubio.
PG Steve Nash vs. J.J. Barea
SG Shannon Brown vs. Martell Webster
SF Jared Dudley vs. Wesley Johnson
PF Channing Frye vs. Kevin Love
C Marcin Gortat vs. Nikola Pekovic