Suns Drop 152 Points on Timberwolves
PHOENIX -- Coming into Tuesday's game against the Suns, the Timberwolves had lost nine straight games, and 15 of their last 16. But perhaps due to the fact that four of Minnesota's 14 wins on the season came against the likes of Dallas, Miami, Denver, and Utah -- all on the road -- the Suns were ready, and weren't taking any chances.
"We wanted to come out aggressive, be ready, and we really didn't want to play with this team," Jason Richardson said. "This is a game we couldn't afford to lose."
Phoenix had no chance of losing the way the team pushed the tempo offensively, and put up an NBA season high of 152 points on the way to a fairly ridiculous 38-point victory. The previous high this year was 146 points, last accomplished by the Atlanta Hawks against the Raptors -- statistically the worst defensive team in the league -- back in December.
Minnesota is ranked just ahead of Toronto on the defensive charts at 29th, and it showed. The Suns put up 79 points in the first half, just one shy of the Bucks' season high of 80 that they posted in the second half of Brandon Jennings' 55-point game back in November against the defenseless Warriors.
Phoenix shot over 56 percent from the field, went 15-for-31 from three-point land, and hit 27 of its 29 free throw attempts. The team had eight players in double figures, including Louis Amundson who had 20 points and seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. Everyone on the team's 12-man active roster scored except for Jarron Collins.
The game had been decided for so long that once the Phoenix locker room was open to the media, players were seen sitting around in towels not talking about the Timberwolves but instead taking pen to paper to fill out their NCAA Tournament brackets.
Over on the visitors' side, things were predictably a little more quiet. Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis briefly addressed the media, but seemed fairly despondent over his team's lack of effort, especially defensively.
"That's certainly what happens when you don't play good defense," Rambis said. "They do a terrific job of moving the basketball. Several sequences out there we do a good job of making that first, second, third effort, but it's that fourth, fifth or sixth effort that you have to find ways to get stops. They were playing a lot harder than we were.
"Our guys weren't in sync defensively, especially in transition. In the first half we gave up way too many fast break points, just because their smalls were just running harder. They weren't doing anything better, they were just running harder."
After a pause of a few seconds, Rambis took a step toward the locker room, and it looked as if that would be the end of his postgame comments. But one more question came, about whether or not it bothered him that the Suns put up a record number of points on this night.
"Records are records. I don't give a s**t about records," Rambis said. "I wasn't happy with our defensive effort, our defensive rotations. Those were not good. But what do I care about their records?"
He makes an interesting point, if not an entirely convincing one.