Timberwolves-Suns Preview

Despite their recent woes, the Phoenix Suns have managed to remain above .500 since late December.

They’ll try to extend that stay Wednesday night with a visit from the Western Conference-worst Minnesota Timberwolves.

Phoenix (33-32) has been one of the NBA’s worst teams since Jan. 31 with a 5-12 record, dropping into 10th place in the highly competitive West. The Suns, who haven’t been at or below the break-even mark since they were 14-14 on Dec. 20, have twice recently been on the verge of falling back to .500 before going on to win their next two games.

Phoenix will try to continue that pattern after losing to two of the league’s top teams, 89-79 at Cleveland on Saturday and 98-80 to Golden State on Monday. The Suns were limited to 19 points or fewer in three of four quarters against the Warriors and outscored 33-12 in transition.

"We just have to keep drilling like we always do, and maybe we need to start showing them tape of other teams," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "I don’t really want to do that, but maybe they should see some of that."

Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points and Brandon Knight added 13 before leaving with a sprained left ankle in the second quarter. The Suns will likely have to get by without Knight, who is averaging 14.4 points in 10 games since coming over from Milwaukee before the trade deadline.

The Suns are averaging 90.7 points and 17.0 turnovers over the past six games while shooting 39.1 percent from the field.

"It’s tough, because we’re doing it to ourselves," forward P.J. Tucker said. "We can score the ball. We’re just not putting ourselves in position to be able to do it. We’re not moving the ball well. With that, we’re taking tougher shots. You can’t make shots when you’re taking tough ones.

"With Brandon out, now it’s going to be even tougher."

The Suns had taken three straight from the Timberwolves before falling 111-109 on the road Feb. 20 despite Markieff Morris’ 31 points. Minnesota’s Kevin Martin and Andrew Wiggins combined for 48.

Both are looking to bounce back from poor efforts in an 89-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday in the opener of a four-game road trip. Martin shot 2 of 8 for 10 points, Wiggins was 5 of 14 for 11 points and Ricky Rubio shot 1 for 8 as the Timberwolves (14-48) posted their second-lowest scoring total of the season.

"We just didn’t come out with enough energy," said recently acquired rookie Adreian Payne, who had season highs of 16 points and 15 rebounds while starting in place of Kevin Garnett. "We just have to continue to keep fighting and keep playing through the whole game. We have a lot of talent, and we’ve got a high ceiling."

Rubio did have 12 assists, reaching double digits for a career-high sixth straight game.

Wiggins, who averaged 20.5 points in an eight-game stretch before Monday, is averaging 20.7 on 58.7 percent shooting in three games against the Suns.

The Timberwolves have been limited to 92.3 points per game in dropping eight of nine on the road.