This was a battle between two of the league’s best defenses so far this season – the Minnesota Timberwolves are ranked sixth while the Phoenix Suns are fourth – with neither team managing to get many open shots.
The Suns built an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but then Wolves—with three starters tumbling against the Suns entire bench unit—the Suns cut the difference to two in a flurry of scores, 87-85 with 8:35 left.
Back in the Suns starters, who ran a quick 5-0 run – including 3 points for the sixth cam in 10 attempts – to cheer the crowd and get the Suns out of the breathing room.
One minute later and Chris Paul patented a right-side patent, the Suns reclaimed 96-88 again to force the Wolves another timeout. The wolves surrendered in Gobert/KAT in tandem at that point.
Soon it was round 16-6 with the start, and another timeout for the Wolves. The Suns took a 103-91 lead 4 minutes from the end of the match.
Wolves are back in Gobert and KAT again – this hasn’t worked yet, so why not try again?
With Booker sitting out due to a foul issue, Paul got into a bit of a faux pas, including draining his first three of the game, to finish the match with a near three-two and seal the Suns win.
Final score: Suns win, 116-107. They are now 6-1 in the youth season, on top of the West.
- Cam Johnson had 29 points, 3 steals. He had 11 three-point attempts which is the highest level of the season, making 7 of them.
- Chris Paul finished 15 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds, to lead the team in the last two categories. He also got 3 assists.
- Devin Booker finished with 18 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds.
- Michael Bridges scored 19 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
- Bismack Biyombo had 4 blocks while he and Landale spent the night boxing with bigger men in the paint so the guards could look for the counterattack. They only had 5 rebounds between them in 46 minutes of playing.
- Dario Saric had 5 minutes, scoring 3 points, 3 rebounds and one assist. Nice to see it there!
The Suns had Cam Johnson (29 points) ready to shoot all night because his main defender was 7-foot-tall Karl-Anthony Towns, who was forced into a power play forward next to 7’1 Rudi Gobert. Cam had space all night and used it. He only scored over 29 points tonight again in his career. You all remember that game, right?
“I’m happy for him,” Michael Bridges, the twin, said after the match. “very happy.”
I still say I don’t believe in the Joubert/Townes pairing, and at least tonight I’ve proven myself right. The sun separated them from each other, forcing the wolves to move away several times from the Twin Towers.
Neither team created a basket until three minutes into the match. Both defenses are closed, and both give up any easy buckets. Cameron Johnson and Michal Bridges seemed a bit terrified by the wolves’ sheer size, and the wolves continued to get the ball on the lead.
Five minutes later, Suns 2-11 started from the field. Wolves were 2-8, until Cam Johnson eventually scored three goals to tie the match 7-7. Yes, you read that correctly. Five minutes, only 14 points scored by the two teams.
It was a rough start for Devin Booker, who had missed three of four shots and made two fouls by this time.
Eventually, the Suns realized they needed to target the KAT in defense by moving it around the screens, leaving Cam Johnson open for good shots.
Cities were frustrated. He was very energetic, but everything was hectic. He missed all three shots he took (badly) and couldn’t even finish in the lane. He’s made some great passes for his teammates, so he’ll probably be the team’s primary playmaker in these lineups.
After the 2-11 start, the Suns made 6 of their next seven shots to lead 20-12 two minutes before the end of the quarter. It’s 18-5 runs.
I still think Booker is having a bad quarter, but it’s 8 points, 4 rebounds and an assist.
Minnesota finished the first quarter 6-0 in the last minute, after Booker’s exit, to close Suns lead to 24-20 in one dimension.
As expected, Suns centers haven’t fared well on the stat sheet yet – combining two points with one rebound. Shooting has to win this photo – Booker, CB and Cameras have a score of 21 out of 24 from the Suns.
The Suns will be in trouble if they don’t keep shooting – Cam P and Landry Shamet combined 1-7 as Wolves continue to cut the lead to two.
Watch Dario! He enters the bout with the Suns up 28-20, playing alongside Jock Landal in a big two-way lineup against Rudy and Nas Red together at Wolverhampton while Cat rests. They really like these formations eh.
The bench held their own, holding the lead at 33-27 before the starters began making their way back to the two teams.
The arena erupted when Dario made a hat-trick on his first attempt. This streak in the first three minutes of play: 1-1 (3), 2 rebounds, 1 assist. (a smile)
The Suns 54-47 in the first half. Cameron Johnson leads the Suns with 17 points, and Anthony Edwards has 15 points with Wolverhampton. Wolves outperform Suns 28-22, as expected. Neither team has topped 37% of field goals, a testament to their efforts at that end of the year (both teams are in the top seven).
the other half
The Suns began extending the lead in third, making 6 of their first 7 shots to build a 69-52 lead and forcing Wolves into a timeout.
Suns is very good at using mismatches. Throughout the match, Joubert was choking the Pick and Roll Biombo/Ball, but there was the second time Joubert sat and Cat took charge of the position.
The Suns built the lead to 74-56 on three more Cam Johnsons (up 23 points now, the Suns lead), but then pulled away from the gas and let Minnesota go in a 13-5 run to fall back to 10.
Torrey Craig made three quarrels at the end of the quarter to help Suns enters fourth with a difference of 84-73. I’d like to rip the sun out to lose focus, but I have to give credit to the wolves for really amplifying them in this game. Both defenses were really good at competing for shots: Suns only made 41% while Wolves made only 37%. Almost half of Suns’ attempts were from three throws (35 of 72).
At that point, the Wolves brought back three Novices (Jobert, Edwards, Russell), increased their intensity, and took the Suns’ lead to two as Cameron Payne went through a phase out of control and the Wolves managed a cap-capped. A Pair of Triples by Anthony Edwards. Suns timeout. Drive to 87-85 only with 8:35 to play.
But then the Suns players came back and took over the rest of the game (scroll up for these details).