The Phoenix Suns (19-39) barely got past the injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves (20-34) Tuesday in an ugly 84-83 overtime game.
The game started poorly for both teams ending with a slim 16-15 Phoenix lead at the end of the first quarter. As the game progressed, the Suns pulled out to an 18-point lead with 35 seconds left before the halftime break.
Phoenix’s offense broke down with a miserable third quarter, ending in a 58-51 lead going into the final period. That lead dwindled even more and was gone after Markieff Morris fouled out on a Dante Cunningham and-1, giving Minnesota its first lead in quite a while.
At the end, Rubio made another free throw, and then Marcin Gortat tied the game at 77 point apiece with a lay-up. After a missed jumper by Rubio the game went to overtime.
In the extra five minutes, both teams only scored a combined 13 points. The Suns seemed to have clinched the game 84-80 with 30 seconds left in the overtime period, before Williams made a 3-pointer, bringing the lead to only one. Then . . . no one else scored the rest of the game.
“We made it a little tough on ourselves but we’ll take it” said Phoenix Suns head coach after the game, according to the team’s official Twitter feed.
The scoring for Phoenix was balanced as six players hit the double-figure mark in scoring.
Wesley Johnson was a bright spot for the Suns in this game. The Syracuse product came off the bench to score 14 points to go with nine rebounds and two steals in the game in his new role, since he broke into the rotation recently.
“Wes was great. He hit some big shots for us” said Goran Dragic.
Dragic scored 10 points of his own, along with his seven assists and a block, while Marcin Gortat had 14 points and seven rebounds. He also contributed a couple steals and three blocks in his 27 minutes, that were less than usual due to foul trouble.
Markieff Morris contributed off the bench with 14 points, while grabbing six boards and adding three blocks, before he fouled out for the second consecutive game. Luis Scola and Jermaine O’Neal both also added 10 points each.
The Timberwolves scoring was much more concentrated than the Suns’. Both Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic were keeping Minnesota in the game in the first half. Williams scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Pekovic added 18 points while ripping down 12 boards and blocking three shots. However, J.J. Barea helped the Timberwolves in that third quarter with 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.
The Suns made Ricky Rubio a scorer and he only had five points on 2-12 shooting, although he had 10 assists and four steals.
Phoenix won the rebounding battle 56-52 which is a reason that the Suns were in the game. There were so many rebounds to be had because both teams shot so badly (Suns- 40.7%, Timberwolves- 34.4%).
For Minnesota, they gave the ball to Williams and that worked out for them, but as a team they went 5-19 from behind the 3-point arc for a miserable 26.3%.
The Suns bench came up huge in this game overpowering Minnesota’s reserves 44-29.
Williams won the individual match-up with Scola by outscoring him by 11, but Scola gets the last laugh as Phoenix pulls out the win.
Now the Suns head right out to Texas for another crack Wednesday at the San Antonio Spurs, while the Timberwolves head to Hollywood for a Thursday bout with the Los Angeles Lakers.