Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves 12/19 Game Preview

Phoenix Suns (8-19) v MInnesota Timberwolves (7-20)

Monday 12/19/2016 6:00pm
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Fox Sports Arizona Plus/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – MInnesota leads 1-0
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 67-36
Last Matchup – November 25, 2016 Minnesota won 98-85
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-101
Timberwolves’ Last Game – Loss to the Houston Rockets 111-109
Suns’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 106.3 (9th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.0 (29th of 30)
Timberwolves’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 103.9 (17th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 106.9 (23rd of 30)

Preview

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon giving up a triple-double to Russell Westbrook (his second of the season against the Suns and his 50th of his career) and a career-high 22 assists in the process. For the Valley of the Suns recap and opinions, read here…In their last three games, the Suns have been held four points below their season average to 102.0 per game. However they are fifth in the league in road scoring averaging 108.1 points on the season. (Maybe they can tick up their scoring against a generally less than stifling Minnesota defense…) The Suns accomplish this with the second highest pace in the league at 100.8, however their eFG% still remains 25th overall in the NBA at 48.6%, a full 8% points below league-leading Golden State…The Suns are second in the league in fastbreak points with 17.6 per game, however they are second worst defensively and allow 17.3…Phoenix is still second overall in third quarter scoring, averaging 28.6 points in the period almost a full point more than third place Indiana. Golden State is first…It is 4th quarter scoring that has hurt the Suns most this season, as they are 12th in the league, however 22nd overall in their last three games…Not only is Phoenix’s 113.0 opponents points per game 2nd worst in the league, but historically would be the worst they have allowed as a franchise since the 1987-88 team gave up the same amount per game…After three straight 30+ point games, team-leading scorer Eric Bledsoe has scored 26 points total in his past two games on 33.3% shooting from the floor…Against Oklahoma City, Devin Booker scored 31, the first time he has scored 30+ since November 27, and 5th 30+ scoring game of the season for him…Booker has made a three-pointer in 12 consecutive games…In his first game in nearly a month, T.J. Warren took one shot and made it, scoring two points…Since his two 20+ rebound games, Tyson Chandler has failed to grab at least ten rebounds in two consecutive games…

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota and Phoenix are very similar in fouls per game, opponents fouls per game, and associated free throws to said fouls. While Phoenix is worst in the league in fouls per game at 25.6, Minnesota is 22nd overall at 21.2. However, Phoenix is fouled 22.1 times per game while Minnesota is fouled 20.9 times. Both teams average 19.6 free throws made per game, although the Suns shoot 25.7 per game, .3 more than Minnesota. This slight discrepancy then gives Minnesota a small shooting percentage advantage of 77.3% to 76.5%…Minnesota remains a solid first half scoring team averaging 54.8 points in the first half, 8th overall, and less than six points below league-leader Golden State. It is the second half where Phoenix find’s themselves 4th in the league in scoring, 2.3 points below league-leading Golden State, and Minnesota drops to 26th overall, averaging 47.9. (This stat did not play out in the team’s Thanksgiving Eve matchup as Minnesota scored 31 points in the fourth quarter, while Phoenix could only muster 10)…While over their last three games, Phoenix has actually fallen below their already league-worst assists per game average to 14.7, Minnesota has been playing slightly above their season-long pace, averaging 23.3 assists per game. Phoenix is also a league-worst 46.6% of all field goals are assists upon (nearly 5% less than second worst Toronto), Minnesota is 12th in the league with 57.6% of all field goals assists upon…Minnesota’s offense is fairly top-heavy with Karl-Anthony Towns (22.1), Andrew Wiggins (21.9), and Zach LaVine (20.7) each averaging over 20 points per game. Gorgui Deng rounds out the team’s top four scorers as the only other double-digit scorer with 10.3…Of the starters, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio average 41.5% and 40.9% of all of their individual shooting attempts from beyond the three-point line…Minnesota has five players who have over 10 dunks so far on the season, lead by Towns who has 30. Phoenix has only three, led by Alex Len’s 29…

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