The Minnesota Timberwolves played the Phoenix Suns for a second time this season, after a disappointing 118-110 loss early in the season, and this time they took care of business at home winning 119-108.
1. The Wolves without starting point guard Jeff Teague, who missed his second consecutive game, received solid point guard play from Tyus Jones. In his season-high 39 minutes, the Minnesota native scored only nine points but his impact was seen as a playmaker and defensively. Jones had seven assists on the day, and zero turnovers. Then defensively, Jones made seven steals and two blocks, doing all the little things necessary on a team with established offensive players like...
2. The Big Three of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins. The Wolves triumvirate scored a combination 78 points, shooting 49.2% from the field, and 46.2% from three (Wiggins went 4-6 and Towns was 2-6). They also would collectively haul in 23 rebounds, have 11 assists, four steals, and three blocks while turning the ball over only four times.
3. A last positive came from a former starter now on the bench. Gorgui Dieng whose starting spot was taken when Taj Gibson was signed, had a solid game off the bench despite his -6 plus/minus. In his 20 minutes, Dieng scored 11 points, hauled in six rebounds, and dished out two assists. He also hit a three, and went 5-8 from the field.
1. The Wolves won the first and third quarters by a combined 14 points but they were unable to put together two straight good quarters as they would lose the second quarter 31-30 and the fourth 28-26. On that same note, the fourth quarter was a struggle offensively for Minnesota, as they scored under 30 in the quarter, after scoring 33 in the first and 30 in the second and third.
2. The Wolves also allowed too many points from the Suns' bench. Mike James scored 26 in his 30 minutes off the bench, Troy Daniels put in 13, and Marquis Chriss, Dragan Bender, and Jared Dudley scored seven, nine, and six respectively. In addition defensively, against a team without it's best scorer and playmaker in Devin Booker (averaging 22.5 points and 4.2 assists per game), the Wolves allowed the Suns to shoot 50.6% from the field, and 50& from three, hitting 13-26 of their attempts from long range.
3. Andrew Wiggins had a great game in multiple facets but he once again came up short at the line. In Sunday's game, Wiggins went 1-4 from the free throw line, watching his free throw percentage dip to 62.5% on the year. The struggles, whether mental or mechanical for Wiggins from the line, continue to hurt his game.
The Wolves are back in action on Tuesday with the Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. at the Target Center.