Timberwolves Wrap: Wolves Survive Late Suns Run

Mar 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) dribbles around Phoenix Suns forward Mirza Teletovic (35) in the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Timberwolves win 121-116. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins (22) dribbles around Phoenix Suns forward Mirza Teletovic (35) in the fourth quarter at Target Center. The Timberwolves win 121-116. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Timberwolves outlasted the Phoenix Suns on Monday night and came away with a win by a final score of 121-116.

In an offense-only game, Brandon Knight dominated the Wolves in the first half and Devin Booker took on that role in the second half, with each player finishing with 30 points in the game for the Suns.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins had the same type of dynamic for the Timberwolves. Towns scored 22 of his 27 points in the first half, while Wiggins scored 22 of his 32 points after the halftime break to lead the Wolves to the win.

The game started out with no defense in sight. Towns had 18 points in the opening frame alone to go along with six rebounds, while Knight could not be stopped on the other end and had 16 points and two assists. Towns’ huge quarter helped the Wolves grab a slim 40-37 lead heading into the second quarter.

The bench unit took it from there, with Tyus Jones and Shabazz Muhammad playing very well in their first half minutes. The bench started the second quarter on a 10-0 run to extend the lead and Muhammad ended his first-half stint with 10 points and five rebounds in just nine minutes.

After the Wolves went up by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, the Suns trimmed the deficit to just five points at halftime. Knight kept the Suns in it with 27 points and four assists on just 12 shot attempts in the first half.

The Timberwolves came out with bang in the second half, though, flying out of halftime with a 10-2 run. The Wolves also played some defense in that stanza, holding the Suns to just 23 points and taking a 15 point lead into the final frame.

The Suns got back into the game with some pressure, trapping Rubio on pick-and-rolls and going on a 18-4 run to start the fourth quarter. After trading a few baskets, the Suns finally took a 109-108 lead with four minutes remaining.

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From that point forward, Wiggins assumed the main ball-handling duties from Rubio after some uncharacteristically sloppy plays from the point guard en route to six turnovers for Ricky on the night. Wiggins flashed some great play-making ability in the clutch, finding Ricky with a nice pass for a big three-pointer.

He followed that up on the next possession by using his patented spin move to draw a foul and make a pair of free throws. On the ensuing Suns play, Rubio jumped a passing lane to get a steal and fed Zach LaVine for an easy fast-break dunk and a five-point lead.

After the Suns cut the lead to two with a tough, contested three from Booker, Wiggins once again fed Rubio for an open three-point attempt, but after Rubio missed, Wiggins came up with a huge offensive rebound in the middle of three Suns players before once again getting fouled and sent to the charity stripe.

The Suns had one more chance to tie the game after Tayshaun Prince made just one of two free throws with eight seconds remaining, but LaVine played fantastic defense in denying the red-hot Booker the ball and a Mirza Teletovic three-point attempt came nowhere close to falling.

Although the game was closer than it should have been, the young Wolves players came through in the clutch and were able to walk away with the ‘W.’

Tweets of the Night

After (fairly) questioning Wiggins’ weak rebounding numbers here at DWW, he certainly came through tonight. That offensive rebound at the end was far from an easy board, but Wiggins skied for it and it was a big reason why the Wolves were able to hold on.

Props, Andrew.

Star of the Night

Andrew Wiggins – 32 points (6-13 FG, 3-5 3P, 17-21 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks

Wiggins’ full game was on display tonight, even though just looking at the stats may not make that obvious. He made some extremely smart passes after penetrating and drawing the defense in, but some missed open shots kept his assists low.

He stepped into three-pointers with confidence tonight after seemingly avoiding them earlier in the year and instead taking one dribble in for a long two. He was also extremely aggressive in getting into the paint, as his ridiculous 21 free throw attempts will show. An impressive all-around game for the sophomore tonight.

Other Notable Timberwolves Lines

Karl-Anthony Towns – 27 points (10-18 FG, 1-3 3P, 6-6 FT), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals

Ricky Rubio – 17 points (6-15 FG, 2-6 3P, 3-4 FT), 7 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 steals, 6 turnovers

Who’s Got Next?

The Timberwolves will get an off day on Tuesday before taking on the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night to cap a three game homestand.

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The Clippers had gone just 3-5 in their last eight games before taking on the Celtics late Monday night. They will also still be without Blake Griffin, so expect yet another close game even if the Wolves don’t come away with a win.