The Suns led heading 75-67 after the 3rd quarter last night against the Timberwolves before being outscored 31-10 in the 4th.
Although the win was within Phoenix’s reach throughout most of the game, turnovers eventually led to their demise – committing seven crucial turnovers in the 4th quarter. Turnovers have been one of the prominent problems plaguing the young Suns team early in this season. Two of the other problems the team has struggled with, fouling and lackluster three-point shooting, were in full display again on Friday night.
While Minnesota committed one more foul than Phoenix, they were sent to the line 25 times compared to Phoenix only going to the line 21 times. These numbers don’t look bad alone, but the Timberwolves made 23 of their 25 free throws and the Suns only managed to sink 15 of their 21. Andrew Wiggins, in particular, did the most damage from the charity stripe making 10 of his 11 free throws in the game on his way to a 25 point game.
On a night when the Suns only shot a hair above 71% from the free throw line, they also shot an abysmal 23% from beyond the arc. They were only able to connect on six of their 26 tries from outside. The Suns rank second to last in the league in three-point shooting with the Mavericks being the only team currently shooting a lower percentage. Part of their struggles can be blamed on Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Brandon Knight’s three-point percentages. Bledsoe is shooting below 30% from beyond the arc while Booker and Knight are each hovering near the 30% mark. Bledsoe had a good showing last night going 8 for 15 overall, 2 for 5 on three-pointers, and putting up 23 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. His most troubling stat of the night were his seven turnovers.
The Suns did manage to win the rebounding battle against Minnesota 48-39, though this is becoming something of the norm for the 3rd best rebounding team in the NBA.
T.J. Warren looks to still be out for a couple weeks to deal with a head injury that has cost him the past 4 games after getting off to a hot start as an early leading candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
Phoenix will look to make adjustments in their next game at home against the Denver Nuggets.