Towns Leads Timberwolves to 12th Win of the Season
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 32 points and 12 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Phoenix 119-108 on Sunday, taking advantage of high-scoring Suns guard Devin Booker's absence.
Jimmy Butler had 25 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 21 for Minnesota.
The Suns announced shortly before the game that Booker — who scored 35 points in Phoenix's home victory over Minnesota on Nov. 11 —would sit out because of an injured big right toe.
With Booker out, the Suns got another big game from their bench, led by Mike James with a career-high 26 points. But Minnesota started the third quarter with a 22-11 run, and Phoenix couldn't find an offensive spark to seriously threaten the rest of the way.
T.J. Warren — who also had 35 points in the first meeting with the Timberwolves — had 18 points for the Suns, and Phoenix started its six-game trip with its third straight loss.
Minnesota built an early 14-point lead before Phoenix's bench pulled the Suns back into it. James had eight second-quarter points to help spark a 25-15 run that gave the Suns a brief four-point lead before Wiggins got hot with three straight buckets to put the Wolves back in front.
Suns: Josh Jackson started in Booker's place and finished with five points. ... Interim head coach Jay Triano said Booker's injury occurred Friday night in a home loss to New Orleans. ... The Suns' bench scored 61 points. The unit entered the game averaging 45.4 points over its previous five games.
Timberwolves: Taj Gibson had 16 points and a season-high 14 rebounds. ... The Wolves improved to 12-8 to equal their best 20-game start since the 2005-06 season. ... Starting point guard Jeff Teague (sore right Achilles) and reserve forward Nemanja Bjelica (sprained left foot) missed their second-consecutive games. Before the game, coach Tom Thibodeau said both players were "getting closer, but I'm not sure that they're there yet." Bjelica's injury is the same foot that required surgery to repair a fracture last season, and Thibodeau said the team has consulted with the surgeon. "I think he's good but we just want to make sure."