Preview: Wolves at Suns
After going more than a month without tasting victory, the Western Conference-worst Minnesota Timberwolves finally got over the hump behind an unlikely performance from Mo Williams.
The veteran guard tries to build on his impressive display Friday night when the visiting Timberwolves face the Phoenix Suns for the second time in 10 days.
Williams is averaging 12.4 points in his 12th season in the league, just below his career mark of 13.3. He poured in a career-high and franchise-record 52 – the most in the NBA this season – as Minnesota (6-31) snapped a 15-game losing streak with Tuesday’s 110-101 win at Indiana.
"Mo was unbelievable," coach Flip Saunders said. "I have been in the league 17 years and I have had some guys have hot games, but I don’t think I have had anybody where he was at. He did everything."
Williams shot 19 of 33, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range. His previous season high was 25 and his career best was 44, which came against the Suns in February 2009 while with Cleveland.
"Mo Williams is a high-powered scorer," Pacers forward Solomon Hill told the Timberwolves’ official website. "I think he’s understanding his role with the team that they have, developing their young guys."
Williams is averaging 24.4 points over his last five games, including a 23-point, 11-assist effort in last Wednesday’s 113-111 loss to Phoenix. Andrew Wiggins had 25 points but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and Minnesota was outscored 42-33 in the fourth quarter.
Goran Dragic scored 25 for the Suns, who are seeking a third consecutive win in the series. However, the Timberwolves have won their last two visits to Phoenix to improve to 14-34 all-time there.
The Suns (23-18) are looking to extend their home winning streak to five for the first time in three seasons after getting by Cleveland 107-100 on Tuesday. Markieff Morris finished with a career-high 35 points to lead all five starters in double figures as Phoenix shot 52.6 percent in the opener of an eight-game homestand. The Suns had played 11 of their previous 14 on the road.
"It seems like we haven’t been here in a long time," coach Jeff Hornacek told the team’s official website. "They’re going to be tough games. We’re hoping the crowd gives us a lift. We can get on a little bit of a roll here."
No team has played fewer home games than the Suns, who are 10-7 on their own court. They’re facing a Timberwolves team that’s surrendered an NBA-worst 112.2 points per contest on the road, going 3-15.
"We’re just taking it one game at a time. We can’t look forward to the next game or the next game (after that)," Suns guard Eric Bledsoe said. "It’s a tough Western Conference, especially at the bottom. Everybody’s starting to creep up a little bit. We’ve just got to take care of business at home."
The Suns have won 11 of 15 overall and sit in eighth place in the West. They’re averaging 107.0 points to rank fourth in the NBA.
Wiggins, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft, is averaging 20.9 points over the last 11 games. Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad all remain out for Minnesota.
The Suns acquired Reggie Bullock from the Clippers as part of a three-team trade with Boston on Thursday, with little-used forward Shavlik Randolph going to the Celtics.