Suns’ Big 3 won’t make season debut against red-hot Timberwolves
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) - The Phoenix Suns will look to avoid another fourth-quarter collapse as they end their three-game homestand against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and you can watch it on 3TV and Arizona’s Family Sports network. To find out how to watch, click/tap here.
All-Star guard Devin Booker and backup Eric Gordon didn’t play on Sunday but it looks like they’ll play on Wednesday. According to the Suns’ injury report, Booker and Gordon are listed as probable. Beal was listed as probable but then later ruled out. Booker has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle and Gordon sat out because of soreness in his left shoulder.
The Suns (4-6) have had trouble closing so far this season, as five of their six losses happened because they were outscored in the fourth quarter. The most recent evidence was Sunday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Suns had 86-80 heading into the final quarter but the Thunder outscored Phoenix 31-13— holding the Suns without a field goal for the final 6:42 — and won despite being outrebounded 52-33. The Suns shot 38% but only made 2 of 21 shots in the fourth quarter. Durant led the Suns with 28 points and nine rebounds and Bradley Beal had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Drew Eubanks scored 15 points off the bench.
The Suns have had fourth-quarter troubles this season, including a loss to San Antonio in which the Spurs never led under the final second of the game, and a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night in the NBA In-Season Tournament. “It’s frustrating losing games. I hate to lose but we’ve been through it before. You understand what needs to be done. You can be mad all you want but the solution, you got to come to a solution at one point. It’s tough losing games but I like the fabric of the guys in the locker room that we’ll figure it out,” said Durant.
Suns coach Frank Vogel didn’t seem too concerned about the slow start and rough fourth quarters. “Big picture, you know, work on our execution and work on ways to be better. We’re gonna get right, we’re gonna get right. We believe in that. We got a helpful player coming back soon, hopefully, and keep a big-picture mindset,” he said.
As for Minnesota, the Timberwolves have one of the best defenses in the NBA, anchored by three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. He came to the Wolves from the Utah Jazz in a 2022 blockbuster trade that stunned the basketball world. The Jazz received four first-round draft picks, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Jarred Vanderbilt, draft rights to Walker Kessler and a pick swap. Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 pick in 2020, leads the team on offense, averaging about 28 points and five assists per game.
The Timberwolves are coming off an ugly win Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA In-Season Tournament. With the game still scoreless and not yet two minutes old, Golden State’s Draymond Green was ejected after putting Minnesota’s Gobert in a headlock. Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, who got into a shoving match that resulted in Thompson’s jersey being ripped, were also tossed. Once the dust settled, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 33 points, sending Minnesota to a 104-101 tournament victory over Golden State. The Wolves have won seven straight games for their longest win streak since 2004.
Phoenix has won 10 of the last 12 meetings against Minnesota, including four straight in the Valley.
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