That sound you heard was the Wolves crashing loudly back to earth as they finished a disastrous 0-4 road trip with a terrible 107-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns, who came into the game with the fewest wins in the league. Much like last season when the Wolves had real trouble with the Suns, they could never get control of the game and that led to a disastrous fourth quarter, when the Wolves could not find the basket nor grab a rebound until it was too late.
After a first half in which Karl-Anthony Towns dominated but the Wolves struggled from the perimeter and couldn’t get consistent stops found them up two, they completely lost their offensive rhythm in the second half. Towns struggled inside and out, nobody stepped up with the exception of Derrick Rose, who finished with 25 but who also missed several shots late as the Suns were making their move.
Meanwhile, Devin Booker in his first game back from injury and T.J. Warren scored 28 and 21 respectively for Phoenix. The Wolves could not consistently get stops on their drives to the basket and they combined to go 6-12 from three. DeAndre Ayton, after foul trouble in the first half, came to life late and took over on the boards, an area the Wolves capitulated on late.
But mostly it was their offensive struggles in the second half that led to this loss. They failed to consistently move the ball and bailed the Suns out with difficult shots. They could also never find their three point range, finishing 7-35 from distance. Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and a struggling Robert Covington combined for a particularly unfortunate 3-20 from three, something the Wolves really can’t survive, though I’m happy to see them take that many.
Missing Taj Gibson hurt the Wolves, not because it led to Dario Saric starting—it’s arguable that Saric was the best player on the court for the Wolves tonight—but because it hurt their depth tonight. Anthony Tolliver, who really hasn’t played since the trade, got in for 13 minutes but was clearly off his game and failed to score. It was not a good night for the reserves other than Rose, and when the starters began to struggle in the second half, there was no answer.
Ugh. Nightmare road trip. Let’s notes.
- Jim Pete was talking about how hard it is to get Okogie in the game. I tweeted that playing 10 isn’t rocket science and plenty of teams do it—and he responded! During the game! We had a back-and-forth about it while he was announcing! Whatever else you think about him, that’s some impressive multi-tasking.
- Other than Rose, the Wolves got 3 points on 1-10 shooting off the bench.
- Towns was awful in the second half. Went 2-8 and was a complete non-factor after dominating early.
- Covington has not looked the same since the road trip started. Hopefully it’s just knee soreness and he gets healthy soon, but he’s not the same impactful guy we saw over the first three weeks.
- Wolves drop to 13-16 and are 0-11 on the road versus the Western Conference. Gack.