The Minnesota Timberwolves returned to action on Friday night after breaking their 15 game losing streak this past Tuesday in Indianapolis against the Pacers. The story of the night was of course Mo Williams’ 52 point effort. Could the Pups ride the ‘wave of momentum’ into Friday’s action in Phoenix? The Suns opened up the night with a 23-18 record, which would slot them into the 8 seed in the Western Conference if the NBA Playoffs started today. With the Wolves giving up a league worst 108ppg and the Suns scoring 107ppg (4th in the NBA), you would expect a run and gun type of game. Here is how the action went down this evening … as the teams celebrated Halloween a little late, with both teams in short-sleeved jerseys, the Pups in black and the Suns in orange.
The Wolves opened up with a starting lineup of Mo Williams, Andrew Wiggins, Chase Budinger, Thad Young, and Gorgui Dieng. (News of course has broken that the Wolves are open to dealing Thad before the deadline, which makes all the sense in the world given that he can opt out of his contract. Quite frankly, he hasn’t panned out and he isn’t the answer for the Wolves at PF for the next five seasons.) The Suns opened up Friday’s game with the following starting five: Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Alex Len.
Both teams got off to a hot start, with the Wolves taking a 13-12 lead into the first timeout with about 7.:43 left in the opening quarter. Minnesota opened up 6-6 from the field for their 13 points and each member of the starting five had a basket. That’s how you open the game on the offensive end of the floor! Dragic and Len each had six points heading into the timeout for Phoenix. After the timeout Dragic continued to pick apart the Wolves, scoring the Suns seven of the next nine points, leading to a 21-17 advantage for the Suns and forcing Flip Saunders to call a timeout.
At the end of the first quarter, the Suns held a 32-27 advantage. The teams played at the expected, fast pace and neither team seemed interested in taking a charge or knocking someone down in the paint.
The second quarter reminded me of the legendary 1990’s video game NBA Jam. It felt like every Wolves’ bucket was a three pointer or dunk/layup in the paint.
The Wolves were able to cut the Suns lead to three points, 59-56, at the half. Wiggins, Dieng, and Williams were all in double figures in the scoring department. Meanwhile, the only player that got on the floor for the Suns and not score in the first half was PJ Tucker.
In the third quarter I got my first look at Miroslav Radjujica and it wasn’t too pretty. In five minutes he was 0-1 from the field with a turnover and two personal fouls. His missed FG was a “below-the-rim” layup attempt and all I could do was shake my head.
The remainder of the Wolves’ roster seemed to follow suit in the 3rd quarter, as the team seemed to hit a bit of a wall. The Suns built a double digit lead, while the Wolves’ shooting percentages dropped and they started turning the ball over more frequently. At the end of the third quarter the Suns held an 86-75 advantage.
The Wolves weren’t able to do much in the 4th in terms of going on an extended run and cutting into the Suns lead. Wiggins left the game in the 4th quarter and didn’t return. The Wolves announced that he had a sickness. Keep your eyes on that news as the Wolves play again Saturday night in Denver.
The final score: Phoenix 110, Minnesota 99.