Scouting Report: Wolves (17-17) vs. Suns (20-13) | Jan. 8, 2014

Scouting Report: Wolves (17-17) vs. Suns (20-13) | Jan. 8, 2014


Timberwolves vs. Suns | 8:30 PM — Target Center

Where to Watch: Fox Sports North, ESPN

Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that the Phoenix Suns would be vying for a Western Conference playoff spot? More than likely, there are probably not a lot of people raising their hand right now.

Behind rookie coach Jeff Hornacek and an electric backcourt, the Suns are 20-13 overall, good for seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Wolves play Phoenix three times this season, the first time coming tonight. With the Western Conference expected to come down to the wire, every win – even in January – is extremely important.

Minnesota sits at 17-17 overall, two games back from the Dallas Mavericks from the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Note that this game has been moved back from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. due to ESPN also televising the game.

Last Meeting

The Wolves were 3-1 against the Suns last season, with the last game coming on April 13 at the Target Center. Minnesota came away with a 105-93 win thanks to 24 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals from Ricky Rubio. All five starters for the Wolves hit double-digits. Derrick Williams (now with Kings) pitched in 15, while Andrei Kirilenko (now with Nets) added 14. Dante Cunningham and Luke Ridnour (now with Bucks) scored 13 and 12 points, respectively. The bench contributed 27 points, with J.J. Barea leading the way with 16.

Phoenix was led by Markieff Morris who finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Jared Dudley (now with Clippers) scored 16 off the bench. Wesley Johnson (now with Lakers) and Luis Scola (now with Pacers) combined for 29 points, a lot have that having to do with Goran Dragic’s game-high 14 assists. Dragic also scored 10 points and had 4 steals.

It was a pretty ugly game – there were a combined 45 turnovers.

Wolves Minute

Jan. 8, 2014

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This Week’s Results

Minnesota is coming off of a 126-95 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, snapping Philly’s 4-game winning streak.

No Timberwolves starters played more than 29 minutes and 2 seconds thanks to 47 bench points. Ronny Turiaf played in his first game since fracturing his elbow on Nov. 1. Although he didn’t score, Turiaf did grab 9 rebounds and block 2 shots in less than 23 minutes of play.

Love led the Wolves with 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Kevin Martin added 18 while going 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. Nikola Pekovic scored 16 points and hauled in a game-high 14 rebounds. Corey Brewer finished with 14 points and was 3-of-3 from long distance. Barea led the bench with 13 points, while Cunningham and Alexey Shved each scored 10. The Wolves tied a franchise record with 16 made 3-pointers.

The Wolves are 4-2 in their last six games.

The Suns are coming off a 92-87 loss in Chicago last night as the Bulls picked up a victory in their first game after sending Luol Deng to the Cavs in a mid-season deal. Goran Dradic led the Suns with 21 points, while Gerald Green had 15 and Miles Plumlee and Channing Frye each had 11. The Suns shot just 6-of-23 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the Bulls’ ball movement helped facilitate the win—they had 26 assists on 36 field goals. Taj Gibson had 19 while Joakim Noah added 14.

Previous to that, the Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday before dropping a game to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. Both games were at home.

What To Watch: Ricky Rubio vs. Goran Dragic

This is intriguing because these two are some of the craftiest point guards in the league. Many thought that with Bledsoe on the team, Dragic’s production would fall off. That’s been the exact opposite, actually.

Dragic is averaging a career-high 18.8 points per game to go with 5.9 assists per game. He’s also shooting a career-best 48.7 percent from the field. Without Bledsoe, Dragic will likely be Phoenix’s biggest scoring threat. He’s been on a scoring tear of late for Phoenix, tallying 23.8 points on 54.7 percent shooting and 6.5 assists per game over his last four games

Rubio is not Minnesota’s biggest scoring threat, but he does do a little bit of everything else. The point guard’s averaging a career-low 8.9 points per game, but his 8.3 assists (5th in NBA), 2.82 steals (1st in NBA) and 3.9 rebounds all mark career highs.

Injury Report

Forwards Chase Budinger (knee) and forward Luc Mbah a Moute (groin) are both questionable for Wednesday’s game.

Phoenix will be without guard Eric Bledsoe (knee) and centers Alex Len (ankle) and Emeka Okafor (back).

Probable Starters
  Timberwolves Suns
PG Ricky Rubio Goran Dragic
SG Kevin Martin Gerald Green
SF Corey Brewer P.J. Tucker
PF Kevin Love Channing Frye
C Nikola Pekovic Miles Plumlee


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.