Timberwolves take loss in stride, prepare for Suns

PHOENIX - Minnesota's roll was temporarily stopped against Golden State its last time out.

Phoenix is trying to find one after losing five straight.

Minnesota (7-4) and the Suns (4-9) will meet Saturday.

The Timberwolves will try to recover from a 125-101 loss to the Warriors on Wednesday that halted their five-game winning streak, their longest since January 2009. Forward Andrew Wiggins had 17 points and center Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Suns trailed by 25 points before losing to Orlando, 128-112, on Friday. They are 0-3 to start a seven-game homestand.

Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau played starting guards Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague deep into the fourth quarter against the Warriors despite being outscored 44-26 in the third quarter to fall into a deep hole.

"I always think with our team if we can get it to 10, we could have a chance," Thibodeau said. "I wanted to see if we could do that."

The Timberwolves lead the Northwest Division, and Thibodeau said any game against the defending-champion Warriors provides an opportunity to learn.

"That's what a championship team looks like," Thibodeau said. "They play hard. They play together. They make plays. Their defense over the last five games has been back to what their defense is. That's why they've been able to win the way they've won. Their willingness to sacrifice and play for each other is what makes them great."

The Timberwolves had held the previous three opponents to under 100 points.

"It's a learning curve," forward Taj Gibson told reporters. "That's what happens when you're feeling good: Five-game winning streak, people telling you how good you are. We got humbled. Back to the drawing board and learn from it. I'm excited for the next game. I know we're going to bounce back even better."

Towns leads the Timberwolves in scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double with 21.0 points and 11 rebounds per game. He is tied for seventh with 1.82 blocks per game. Wiggins is averaging 19.6 points a game.

The Suns are led by guard Devin Booker, who averages 22.1 points a game but was held to nine points in the loss to Orlando on Friday.

Orlando guard Terrence Ross had the primarily assignment on Booker, who made 3-of-10 field goal attempts. The nine points tied a season low as teams continue to make him the focal point of their defense. Booker had five assists.

"When he gets double-teamed he's making the right plays," Suns interim head coach Jay Triano said. "We just have to figure out ways to get him more space."

Alex Len, making his second start of the season in place of Tyson Chandler (back spasms), had a season-high 21 points to go with 13 rebounds.

Rookie Josh Jackson had his career with 18, all in the first half. He also had six rebounds, two steals and a block. After starting to open the season, he has come off the bench since Triano took over.

"Josh was really good," Booker said. "I think every night it is getting easier for him, figuring it out. He's just tenacious on both ends, getting in transition, getting steals."


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