Phoenix Suns Dominate #1 Western Conference Foe in Convincing Win

The Phoenix Suns were headed into a tough contest with the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, who held the number one spot in the Western Conference, but got the best of the T-Wolves as they took down the top-seeded team in the West 97-87. A season low of 87 points for Minnesota.

Friday night was the kind of performance Suns fans have been waiting to see all year from this squad. A very good shooting offense that can retreat on defense quickly. Also, a team that starts hot with a big lead and doesn’t blow it late in the fourth quarter. To have that performance come on a night where the stakes were especially high means even more.

“We had a strong performance against the Cavs, but we challenge our guys to be even better because there are areas we could still be better. We want to be a good defense, and guys responded; a lot of the stuff we worked on carried over to tonight’s game,” said Head Coach Frank Vogel.

The game was nothing short of an absolute masterclass on both ends of the floor. Kevin Durant and Grayson Allen led the way in the scoring column for the Suns, combining for 45 points on the night. On top of that, Devin Booker finished with a double-double. And although he wasn’t the star of the night, the Phoenix Suns finally got some big-time true point guard play out of Bradley Beal. Beal started by scoring nine points in the first quarter and would only score five the rest of the game, though he was one of Phoenix’s key facilitators throughout the game.

Both Frank Vogel and Grayson Allen mentioned how this was one of their best games of the season in terms of communication. “This was one of our best communication games of the season”, said Allen. “Everyone talking on the backside, loading up, talking about who has the low man, who has the first pass out to the three-point shooter. It was great, all-around defensively.”

Defensively, Phoenix held the Timberwolves big men—Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels, and Naz Reid—to a combined 18 points on the night.

“I just think that we closed out the paint, we were able to get out to the shooters as well”, said Kevin Durant postgame. ” (Minnesota) 10-of-29 from three, I think a lot of them were over contested. We were just there for each other, Helping guys in the pick and roll, being a low man, helping on drives. Ant (Anthony Edwards) is just tough to stop. We had to meet him with bodies, I think we did a solid job of doing that.” All though the Suns would be able to slow down Minnesota’s bigs, Anthony Edwards was still able to fight for 17 points on the night.

The Suns started out really hot. Devin Booker nailed three free throws after being fouled on his first shot attempt, and Jusuf Nurkic was being a bully in the paint on both ends of the court. Grayson Allen hit a big three as the Suns jumped to a 13-0 lead to start the game, forcing a Minnesota timeout. Phoenix would end up being up 15-0 before Minnesota got their first points of the night.

Phoenix would cool down as the first quarter came to a close, but nonetheless, it was a productive shooting affair in which Phoenix shot 55% from the field. Bradley Beal was finding ways to make some creative shots; he would finish with nine in the half. Defensively, the Suns were doing their thing. Forced Minnesota to take some bad looks, which caused them to shoot only 33% in the quarter. Phoenix finished the quarter up 12.

Phoenix would jump to their largest lead of the game, 19 at the time, just around the 8-minute mark in the second quarter. The Suns defense was continuing to shine as they were putting heavy pressure on Minnesota’s offense, often forcing them to shoot from one side of the court. Phoenix was only up by single-digits once in the first half, which goes to show how impressive the Suns defense was for the first part of the game. Durant, Beal, and Allen would finish with a combined 38 points at the end of the half with the suns up, 57-41.

Once the second half rolled around, the Suns just never let their foot off the gas. They accumulated their largest lead of the game, 21, at the 9:22 minute mark of the third quarter. But the Timberwolves never went away. They kept the game pretty even in the third quarter scoring totals, which helped them keep and take over the pace of the game just a bit. Turnovers started to become a problem for Phoenix. The Suns had seven turnovers at the 3:11 mark in the third quarter. 

“We started turning the ball over; that is part of an area that we have to get better with”, said Suns Head Coach Frank Vogel. “But I think within that stretch, some of the guys in the locker room were talking that, even though we had some bad possessions offensively, our defense was great and held the fort down. It kept us in the game, kept them from going on a run; we weren’t scoring, but they weren’t scoring either, and that is what you want from a great defense.”

Phoenix’s defense was able to continue its great stretch though. Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards was able to bring his point total up to 17 by the end of the third, but the Suns held on to their 17-point lead, 77-61.

The fourth quarter was nothing but pure Suns dominance. Shooting just as well as they did when they started the game, Phoenix was able to close it out and grab the win at home against the number one team in the Western Conference, 97-87. The Suns climbed to their largest lead of the game, once again, up 23 with under 3 minutes to go in the game, but that would fall once the Suns put in their reserves.

Phoenix would finish the game shooting 43% from the field, as every player in the Suns starting lineup would finish with a +/- of 13 or better on the night.

The Suns are coming in hot at the right time. They’ve won their last three in a row and only have five games left in the regular season. The Suns will host the Pelicans on Sunday night before hosting the Clippers on Tuesday. Then they’ll go on a three-game road trip to end the season with their last game in Minnesota, on April 14th, against the Timberwolves.


Adam Beadle

Adam Beadle is the Student Sports Director at 88.7 The Pulse. Included in his director duties, Adam writes for, does play-by-play for the local Pulse Sports High School Game of The Week broadcasts, and hosts his weekly show, every Friday from 1-2pm, The Adam Beadle Sports Show. Adam currently covers High School sports, Arizona State athletics, the Phoenix Suns, and Phoenix Rising FC for 88.7 The Pulse.

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