Green’s jumper caps Suns’ comeback
MINNEAPOLIS — The Phoenix Suns did what they’ve done all season — come from out of nowhere. This time to win a game it appeared they had lost.
After Goran Dragic and the Suns burned the Minnesota Timberwolves with a stunning comeback, Kevin Love torched some of his teammates.
Dragic had 26 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and Gerald Green’s baseline jumper with 3.9 seconds completed a rally from six points down with less than two minutes to play in a 104-103 victory over the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
The Suns (21-13) closed the game on a 7-0 run for maybe their most improbable win in a season full of them. Channing Frye scored 22 points and hit five 3-pointers and Green finished with 14 points for Phoenix, which was playing the second game of a back-to-back and is still missing starting guard Eric Bledsoe.
"We just have confidence in each other and I think we just want to continue to play our way of basketball," Frye said.
The Timberwolves have no such thing right now.
Kevin Martin scored 20 points, but his runner at the buzzer clanked off the rim. Nikola Pekovic and Love combined to shoot 10 for 36 and the Timberwolves failed to get over .500 on their seventh straight try.
They are 0-10 in games decided by four points or less this season, but the thing that troubled Love most was seeing J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham sulking at the end of the bench in the final quarter.
"We all need to be in this together," Love said. "That kind of (ticks) me off. We’re supposed to be a team."
Love didn’t call out either veteran by name, but the body language for Barea and Cunningham in the fourth made them easily identifiable.
"If and when I did that last year when maybe I didn’t sit out for the game for all 48 minutes and so on and so forth, they would have killed me," Love said, referring to him missing many games last year with a broken hand. "They would’ve aired me out. That’s tough. It’s two guys that we expect more from them. I think they expect more from themselves."
The Wolves led by nine with 4:16 to play and were up 103-97 with 1:36 to go. But as is usual in this unlikely season in Phoenix, the Suns never gave in. P.J. Tucker hit two free throws, Dragic scored off a steal, Markieff Morris hit another freebie and Green, the former Timberwolves flop, hit a jumper with the shot clock winding down to seal it.
The Wolves committed three turnovers in the final minute, the last on an errant pass from Ricky Rubio that gave the Suns the ball with 16 seconds to go.
"I think we play better with our backs to the wall, but I don’t think nobody in this locker room wants to ever be in that situation," Green said. "We want to finish out games better."
Love had 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting with 12 rebounds and Pekovic had 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting with 12 boards.
Miles Plumlee had 11 points and nine boards before fouling out and Marcus Morris had 10 points and five boards for the Suns, who just keep surprising people.
Martin had his 20 points early in the third quarter and Corey Brewer’s activity on defense and ability to get out in transition keyed a 30-19 period for the Wolves, who were rattled in the first 24 minutes by the Suns’ rugged defense and the way the game was being called.
Love and coach Rick Adelman each picked up technical fouls for arguing with the officials, and the Timberwolves’ star missed 10 of his 12 shots in the first half. Pekovic didn’t fare much better, going 1 for 8 from the field and having all kinds of difficulty with Plumlee’s athleticism in the paint.
The Suns had plenty to complain about themselves. But they never got rattled. And it paid off.
"They kept their composure," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "They didn’t get panicked. They made some stops. That’s the key. We really buckled down at the end. They were kind of scrambling there."