The Phoenix Suns got run off the court by the Minnesota Timberwolves by an embarrassing 31 point margin for a final score of 117-86. This keeps the Suns on the straight and narrow path to future success, now that they have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. However, this path is treacherous with disappointed fans on one side and angry and disgruntled coaches and management on the other.
With the loss to Minnesota, Phoenix sits as the fourth-worst team in the league with a 23-47 record, giving them a great chance at an excitingly high draft pick this off-season. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats have worse records in the NBA, and Cleveland is only a half a game worse.
This game was over before the first quarter buzzer sounded. After 12 minutes of play, Phoenix was already down 31-18. The loss was so overwhelming that the entire Suns team had a negative plus/minus, while every Timberwolves player’s plus/minus was positive.
“I didn’t think we played with any fire in the beginning,” said Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter after the game, according to the Suns’ official Twitter feed.
The Suns came out in the third period and got the deficit under twenty, but couldn’t do anymore than that. The Timberwolves were shooting too well. They shot 53.2 percent from the field as opposed to their average of 43.4 percent. Making 10 percent more shots than usual sure helps secure a win.
The game was won for the Timberwolves as a team effort. They had seven players hit the double-figure mark in points, headlined by Andrei Kirilenko’s 20 points. Dante Cunningham had 18 points, while Greg Stiemsma scored 14, both off the bench. Ricky Rubio and Luke Ridnour had 12 points and Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger both added 11 points in the win.
Phoenix did not play well offensively, but someone has to get the points. Luis Scola led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Goran Dragic added 13 points and 10 assists. P.J. Tucker and Michael Beasley both added 11 points to round out the Suns players who hit double-figures scoring.
The problem was that Phoenix was kind of just chucking shots up when they got down by more than 20, in an inevitably unsuccessful and pitiful attempt at trying to get their team back in the game by themselves. They were trying to put the team on their back in the worst possible way.
The Suns are struggling, but the players have to be professional and finish out the season that way, despite their record the rest of the way. They need to show the effort on the court, show they can be coached and play with energy that rivals their opponent every game.
They should try to play spoiler to some playoff teams, and if that fails, try to get better each and every day. That is all they can do . . . their best, and hope for a better year next season. What Wesley Johnson said after the game really sums it up.
“You just continue to try to get better . . . It’s tough.”