Green's winning shot caps Suns' rally vs. Wolves
The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 103 Phoenix 104
MINNEAPOLIS -- As has happened so often this season, the Phoenix Suns found a way to win. And in what has become a numbing reality, the Minnesota Timberwolves found a way to give a close game away.
The visiting Suns ended the game on a 9-1 run -- including scoring the final seven points over the final 1:35 of the fourth quarter -- to beat the Timberwolves 104-103 at the Target Center on Wednesday night.
Guard Gerald Green's 18-foot jumper from the corner with 3.9 seconds left was the game-winner. Guard Kevin Martin's 8-foot shot was short as time expired.
"No hesitation, no hesitation," said Green, who took a handoff from forward Markieff Morris in a hectic possession that ended when his off-balance, fade-away jumper swished through the net.
The basket came 21 seconds after Wolves guard Ricky Rubio dribbled into trouble and had his panicky pass picked off by Morris at the other end.
"I think we play better with our backs to the wall," said Green after the Suns (21-13) improved to 9-8 on the road.
The same cannot be said for the erratic Wolves (17-18), who dropped to 0-10 in games decided by four points or less. Wednesday marched the eighth time since late November the Wolves had a chance to push above .500. For the eighth time they failed.
"Really tough loss," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "We just kind of gave it away, handed it away."
Guard Goran Dragic finished with a game-high 26 points for Phoenix. Forward Channing Frye added 22 and Green had 14.
Martin finished with 20 points for the Wolves, who shot 39.5 percent. Forward Kevin Love had 15 points and 12 rebounds, but, covered mainly by Frye, shot just 4-for-20. Center Nikola Pekovic finished with 17 points, 15 in the second half. All of forward Corey Brewer's 15 points came in the final two quarters.
The Suns? They never quit.
"They kept their composure," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "They made some stops. That's the key. We really buckled down at the end. This is a good one for the guys."
And it all started after Brewer made one of two free throws with 1:51 left to give the Wolves a 103-97 lead.
Forward P.J. Tucker got the rebound of Dragic's three-point miss, was fouled and made two free throws with 1:35 left. Love missed a 13-footer at the other end and Dragic scored on the break to make it 103-101 with 1:09 left.
Pekovic turned the ball over and Morris was fouled at the other end. He made one of two with 41.4 left on the lock to make it a one-point game. Coming out of a time out, Rubio dribbled down the lane, under the basket and got off his feet, forcing a bad pass that Morris picked off. After a time out, Dragic got the ball to Morris, who got it to Green, who hit the shot.
"We can't have any more of these," said a clearly irritated Love. "These are terrible. ... We've had very tough ones. The last three we have lost have been really tough. It's just time. ...There's still a lot of time, but we need to win games like this. "
NOTES: The Suns formally announced the signing of G Leandro Barbosa to a 10-day contract Wednesday, returning the 10-year veteran to the team where he spent the first seven seasons of his career, then wasted little time getting him some game action. The Suns are hoping Barbosa can help the offense, especially with Eric Bledsoe sidelined with a knee sprain. Barbosa had not played since tearing an ACL with Boston on Feb. 11, 2013. "We have guys who can run, and this gives us a guy who can run along with them," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. ... Timberwolves F Chase Budinger played for the first time this season, his surgically repaired knee finally OK to play. Budinger will be on a time limit for his first few games back. ... Timberwolves F Luc Mbah a Moute (strained groin) missed his third straight game. ... The presence of G A.J. Price and F Robbie Hummel on the Timberwolves' roster Wednesday means both players' contracts will become guaranteed Friday.
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