Timberwolves home after rough trip to host streaking Suns

NBA

The Phoenix Suns go for their ninth win in a row when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night in Minneapolis.

Phoenix will play on short rest after posting a 115-89 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. Devin Booker led the way with 26 points, and JaVale McGee notched a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The mood is bright once again for the Suns, who surprised many by reaching the NBA Finals last season.

“For me, I don’t take them for granted,” Phoenix head coach Monty Williams said when asked about his team’s winning streak. “I’m focused on just getting better and improving and seeing consistency. …

“I’m focused on our team getting better. I don’t want to take away from the wins and the success we’ve had early in the season, but I have a short-term view and a long-term view.”

The short-term view includes a trip north, where the first snowfall of the season already has arrived. Minnesota is looking to change the narrative after losing seven of its past eight games.

The Timberwolves are coming off a 1-3 road trip as they begin a four-game homestand.

Wolves forward Josh Okogie said the focus should be consistency with the level of intensity.

The team followed up a surprise win against the Los Angeles Lakers with a dud against the Los Angeles Clippers, continuing a trend in which Minnesota has not been able to stack wins.

“I feel like that’s really been the problem with us as a team, is how do we not get tired of success?” Okogie said. “I feel like after we have good performances, we have to be able to put that game behind us and focus on the next one and try to go 1-0 every night.”

Karl-Anthony Towns is averaging 22.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in his first 12 games this season for the Timberwolves. Yet some opponents, including the Clippers, have found ways to frustrate Towns.

That could create a blueprint for the Suns to limit the impact of the Timberwolves’ top player.

“They wrestle with him, they pre-double him, they take the ball out of his hands in every way, shape or form when he gets it,” Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said when asked about Towns. “We’ve got to figure out how to solve that. That’s on me.”

The Suns are led by Booker, who is averaging 22.1 points per game this season to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Mikal Bridges is next on the scoring list with 14.6 points per game, while Deandre Ayton (14.2), Chris Paul (14.1) and Frank Kaminsky (12.3) round out the top five.

The teams matched up three times last season, with Phoenix earning a 2-1 series win. The Suns won the lone game in Minnesota by a score of 118-99, while the teams split their contests in the desert. The Timberwolves posted a 123-119 win on March 18 before losing to the Suns 113-101 one night later.

–Field Level Media

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