The wins have been few and far between for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season, but one of those rare wins came against the Phoenix Suns.
The Timberwolves look to make it two in a row against the Western Conference-leading Suns and snap a 14-game road losing streak when they visit Phoenix on Friday.
Minnesota's 100-93 home win against the Suns on Dec. 8 was one of the NBA's more surprising upsets of the season. Phoenix (27-12) had won five straight and was 16-4 entering that game, while the Timberwolves (5-32) had dropped five in a row.
Center Al Jefferson had 32 points and 20 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves to a 55-33 edge on the boards. Phoenix also scored just 13 fourth-quarter points, still a season low for the NBA's highest-scoring team.
The Suns moved into the top spot in a crowded Western Conference with a 106-98 win Thursday at the Los Angeles Lakers. Four other teams in the West - including the Lakers - have 12 losses, but Phoenix owns the most wins.
With Grant Hill missing his fifth straight game after an appendectomy, only seven players saw action against the Lakers and only six scored for the Suns, but all six had at least 13 points. Shawn Marion had 20 points and 16 rebounds and Leandro Barbosa added 22 points off the bench for Phoenix, which shot 51.9 percent from the field.
Steve Nash had a season-high 20 assists, reaching that mark for just the fourth time in his career in the regular season.
"You can't make shots every night, but you can try to move the ball well," said Nash, who is averaging 20.5 points and 12.5 assists in his last 11 games against the Timberwolves. "I think our team, with all the shooters we have, if we move the ball well, we're going to have a nice night."
The Suns had lost two of three before Thursday's game, but have won their last three at home, where they are 13-4 this season.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have lost 14 straight on the road as they start a three-game road trip that will also take them to Denver and Golden State.
They've also lost three in a row in Phoenix, allowing an average of 116.3 points in those games.
Minnesota is hoping to avoid its sixth different losing streak this season of at least four games. The Timberwolves lost their third straight on Tuesday, falling 105-98 at home to Golden State.
"It can wear on you," said forward Antoine Walker, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds - both season highs. "It's getting to a point where we want to win some games. We can't get any complacency. Nobody likes to be a part of a loser, so we want to get it back right. We want to improve in the process, so hopefully we can turn the corner in the second half of the season."
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