Suns Sink Wolves Late, 104-103

Suns Sink Wolves Late, 104-103

Fans saw something that they’ve seen far too much of this season from the Minnesota Timberwolves. After having a late-game lead against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, the Wolves fell 104-103 making them now 0-10 in game decided by four or less points points.

“It’s such a hard situation,” said Wolves head coach Rick Adelman. “We’re going just fine, we’re getting it to Pek, we’re making plays and all of the sudden in a couple of possessions it goes from six points down to a one possession game. Somehow we’ve got to learn how to breakthrough on that.”

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Wolves vs. Suns

The Wolves couldn’t have started the game off much better, as they opened off with a 9-0 lead in the first 2:09, thanks to seven points from Kevin Martin. After that, though, the Wolves fell apart, allowing the Suns to go on a 15-6 run to tie the game with 4:25 left. The Suns ultimately took a 27-23 at the end of one thanks to 10 points and three 3-pointers from forward Channing Frye. Reggie Miller would have frowned at the shooting, as the Wolves shot 25.9 percent compared to Phoenix’s mark of 39.5 percent. Martin had a game-high 11 points at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter was an uncharacteristic one for the Wolves as well. The NBA’s second highest scoring team put up just 24 points in the quarter and its two post scorers (Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic) were a combined 3-of-20. For shooting just 32.9 percent in the half, the Wolves were perhaps lucky to be trailing just 53-47. Martin was about the only thing keeping the Wolves above water, having a game-high 16 points while shooting 4-of-7 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. On a positive note for Love and Pekovic, the two did haul in seven rebounds each. Frye finished with 15 points, while Goran Dragic added 12 -- seven coming in the second quarter. A high note for the Wolves did come when Chase Budinger nailed a 3-pointer to put the Wolves up 33-30 with 8:49 left in the half. The assist fittingly came from Ronny Turiaf, another guy Minnesota’s bench has missed for the early part of the season.

“Yeah, we missed a ton of shots, start of the half, 2-for-12 and Pek was 1-of-8 and that just never happens,” Love said.

Things turned around in the third quarter for Minnesota. Martin nailed a jumper to give tie the game at 61-61 with 6:14 left. Just two minutes later, the Wolves took a 67-65 lead (their first since the first quarter) after a Pekovic hook shot. Later in the quarter, Love nailed his first 3-pointer of the night to give the Wolves a 75-69 lead. Minnesota came out of the quarter leading 77-72.

It looked as if the Wolves were going to pull this one away, despite playing so poorly in the first half. The Wolves led 102-95 with 2:38 left in the game. The Suns pulled within one, though, after Markieff Morris hit a free-throw with 40.1 seconds left to put the game at 103-102. Ricky Rubio turned the ball over on the next possession and Gerald Green hit a game-winning shot with 3.9 seconds left.

“It was just a tough loss,” Adelman said. “We just kind of gave it away, handed it away. The kid made a tough shot at the end but we got to handle the situations better than we did.”

MInnesota ended the night shooting 39.5 percent from the field. Martin led the team with 20 points. Both Pekovic and Love had double-doubles. Pekovic finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Love had 15 points and 12 rebounds, but was just 4-of-20 from the field. Brewer added 15 points - all coming in the second half.

Dragic had a game-high 26 points to go with nine assists and six rebounds. Frye added 22 off of five 3-pointers. Green had 14, while Miles Plumlee added 11. Marcus Morris led the bench with 10 points.

The Wolves now sit at 17-19, three games back from the Dallas Mavericks for eighth place int the Western Conference.

Leader of the Pack: Nikola Pekovic

Despite struggling in the first half, Pekovic turned in on when it counted most, scoring nine points in the fourth quarter in attempt to erase an ugly first half. Pekovic finished the night with 17 points and 12 rebounds. It was his 19th double-double of the season and the eighth in his last nine games.

Highlight of the Night

With 9:13 left in the third quarter, Rubio hauled in his sixth rebounds, heaved the ball upcourt to a sprinting Brewer and the former Gator threw it down for the first two points of the game. It was Rubio’s third assist and it got the Wolves within 55-53. Brewer went onto score eight points in the quarter, helping the Wolves end the quarter with a 77-72 lead.

The Numbers Game

  • Against Philadelphia, Pekovic and Love missed a combined 13 shots. On Wednesday night, they struggled a bit, combining to miss 26 shots.

  • The Wolves outscored the Suns 42-28 in the paint. Phoenix came into the game 11-0 when outscoring its opponent in paint. The Suns are now 10-13 when they are outscored in the paint.

  • Postgame Podcast

    Wolves vs. Suns

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  • With 15 points and 12 rebounds, Love now has his league-leading 30th double-double of the season.

  • Quotable

    “I don’t know how many ways I can say it. You’ve got to defend down the stretch, you’ve got to execute, take care of the ball, guys have to make plays. I don’t know what else to say.” — Wolves coach Adelman on what the team needs to do to close things out.

    Next Up

    The Timberwolves stay at home for Friday’s game against the Charlotte fans. Don’t worry, early birds. This game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North on WCCO 830-AM. The Wolves will then hit the road to play the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday at 6 p.m.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at