The Phoenix Suns lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-93 Saturday night.
Phoenix won the first quarter 28-22, but was outscored in the other three periods for the twelve point loss. Phoenix just didn’t have enough in the tank. Both teams were without important frontcourt players with Minnesota missing Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, while Phoenix was playing minus Marcin Gortat and Jermaine O’Neal.
It is an indictment of the talent in this game that Ricky Rubio was the leading scorer with 24 points. The 22-year-old Spaniard also had, ten assists to notch a double-double and added five rebounds and five steals for a spectacular stat line.
The rest of the starters and a bench player all scored in double digits to propel the Timberwolves to a win. To continue the theme of short people scoring, 6’0” J.J. Barea added 16 points as a reserve, to add to 6’4” Rubio’s point total that made for a dynamic backcourt along with 6’2” Luke Ridnour’s 12 points (those guys are all totally shorter than their listed height).
For the Timberwolves’ frontcourt, Derrick Williams scored 15 points, Andrei Kirilenko had 14, and Dante Cunningham added 13 in the win.
On the Suns side of the ball, the scoring was pretty even and higher than usual for some players, because of the lack of depth, without Michael Beasley, Marcin Gortat, and Jermaine O’Neal in the lineup.
Markieff Morris led the team with 20 points, along with his nine boards, two steals and a block. Jared Dudley was next on the scoring list for Phoenix with 16 points off the bench and two steals. Wesley Johnson was an efficient 7-13 from the field and finished with 15 points. Luis Scola played well with his 14 points, nine rebounds and couple steals and his block. Goran Dragic had an good stat line with 10 points and 14 assists for a double-double and four steals.
This game was the epitome of what the informed Suns fan should want from their team in the final games. Some great play, but not too much. Some exciting plays with the team learning and building for next year, but ultimately a loss.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, and also the Houston Rockets are intricately involved the future of the Suns. Minnesota fortunately beat us tonight, and they hope that this makes them complacent or over-confident because they play the Utah Jazz Monday, who is competing with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth-spot in the Western Conference. If the Lakers miss the playoffs, which sadly is more probable with Kobe Bryant’s torn Achilles tendon yesterday, Phoenix acquires another pick in this year’s draft. We want Utah to win out.
In the case of the Rockets, they will also contribute to the Suns possible hopeful future as they build through the draft. Houston plays the Suns Monday, in which Phoenix needs to replicate the game from tonight. The Rockets also play the Lakers in one of the last games of the season on Wednesday.
Phoenix was tied before the game with Cleveland for the third-worst record in the league, and this loss could be crucial come the end of June for the draft.