Photo: (AP Photo/Matt York)
Photo: (AP Photo/Matt York)
January 23, 2019 09:56 AM
Ryan Saunders is 4-3 as Wolves interim coach, and he finally got a game that didn't come down to the final minutes, as the Wolves beat Phoenix 118-91.
The Wolves led wire-to-wire to make it consecutive wins over Phoenix -- Derrick Rose hit a last second shot at Target Center Sunday for the first victory.
The Wolves came out much stronger Tuesday night in Phoenix, led by center Karl-Anthony Towns. He finished with 25 points, 18 rebounds, and 7 assists. Rookie Josh Okogie chipped in 21 points.
In both games, Phoenix was without centers Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) and Richaun Holmes (right foot sprain).
Devin Booker scored 14 for Phoenix before he and Minnesota's Gorgui Deng were ejected with 5:24 left in the third quarter. Phoenix already trailed by 20 by then.
Josh Jackson had a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, which lost its fifth straight. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 13 and Dragan Bender, who started at center, had 12 points and 10 boards.
Andrew Wiggins scored 17 and Jared Bayless 14 for Minnesota.
It was a far cry from the tight game the teams played two days earlier.
The Suns never led and were down by as many as 30 in the second half.
Phoenix trailed only 44-42 after Bender's 3-pointer midway through the second quarter but the Timberwolves outscored the Suns 20-7 the final 6:33 of the half to lead 64-49 at the break. Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarters.
Minnesota stretched it to 80-60 on Bayless' fourth 3 of the night with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves led 82-62 with 5:24 left in the third quarter when Booker and Dieng got into a brief altercation, with Booker getting knocked down and responded with a hand to Dieng's face. After a video review, both were ejected. Since Booker is averaging 24.5 points per game and Dieng 5.4, Minnesota got the obvious advantage of that one.
Timberwolves: Jeff Teague missed the game with left foot soreness. ... Tyus Jones missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... Timberwolves have another pair of consecutive games against the same opponent next week, against Utah on Friday and Sunday. ... Minnesota has won six of nine games. ... Timberwolves won the season series 2-1.
Suns: Phoenix has had four stretches of at least five losses in a row this season. ... Booker drew a technical foul from the bench in the second quarter. ... Oubre snapped a string of seven straight games of at least 14 points, longest such stretch of his career. .... Booker is averaging 24 points and a career-high seven assists. James Harden and LeBron James are the only others to have done that so far this season.
The Wolves next play Thursday at the L.A. Lakers. They remain in 11th place in the West.
KSTP Sports/Associated Press
Updated: January 23, 2019 09:56 AM
Created: January 22, 2019 10:32 PM
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