Coming off their best shooting game of the season, the high-octane Phoenix Suns look to improve upon the Western Conference’s best record.
That doesn’t bode well for the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.
Phoenix opens a four-game road trip Friday night when it takes on a Timberwolves team approaching the franchise record for consecutive losses.
The Suns (12-3), the only team that has scored 100 or more in each game, posted their second straight blowout win Wednesday - 126-111 over Memphis. Led by Amare Stoudemire’s 13-of-18 shooting effort and 28 points, Phoenix hit 35 of its final 48 shots and made a season-best 61.9 percent from the field.
It was the Suns’ best shooting performance since hitting 62.1 percent in a 154-130 victory at Golden State on March 15.
“We did a great job of exploiting (the Grizzlies’) defense,” said Stoudemire, who has scored 21 or more in five straight games. “I was taking what the defense was giving me.”
So were the rest of the Suns, who are tied with Cleveland as the NBA’s top 3-point shooting team at 44.8 percent. After hitting 11 of 18 from long range in Sunday’s 117-91 win over Detroit, Phoenix made 9 of 17 versus Memphis, with Channing Frye(notes) and Jason Richardson(notes) hitting three apiece.
In a 120-112 victory over visiting Minnesota on Nov. 1, the Suns hit 14 of 26 3-point attempts. Frye matched a career high with six 3s and had a season-high 25 points.
The Timberwolves (1-14), meanwhile, have lost all 14 of their games since a season-opening victory over New Jersey on Oct. 28. The franchise record for consecutive losses is 16, set from Feb. 29-March 29, 1992.
Minnesota set a team record for the worst start to a season with Wednesday’s 124-111 defeat to Denver.
“I told them I was very disappointed with them at halftime and I was disappointed with them at the end of the ball game,” said first-year coach Kurt Rambis, whose team trailed by as many as 24 in the first half. “… But the effort, the energy, the passion, just that competitiveness, it just wasn’t there tonight.”
Minnesota now must face a Phoenix team that’s scoring an NBA-high 111.4 points per game and shooting 50.1 percent - also best in the league. The Timberwolves are allowing an average of 104.1 points.
Guard Corey Brewer(notes) posted his first career double-double Wednesday with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Al Jefferson(notes) had his fourth straight double-double with 14 points and 12 boards.
Suns center Robin Lopez(notes) is expected to make his season debut Friday after being sidelined with a broken bone in his left foot. In Phoenix’s last visit to the Target Center, Lopez had six points and a career-high 11 rebounds in a 110-97 victory April 11.
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