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Suns 84, Timberwolves 83 (OT)

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Wesley Johnson had 14 points, nine rebounds and assisted on the final two Phoenix baskets of overtime as the Suns held on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 84-83 Tuesday night at U.S. Airways Center.

Minnesota had a chance to win the game, but an Alexey Shved layup attempt rolled off the rim with three seconds left.

Derrick Williams 21 points 11 rebounds for Minnesota and Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Timberwolves missed a chance to record back-to-back wins over Phoenix for the first time in eight years. They also lost forward Andrei Kirilenko to a left calf strain late in the first quarter.

Gortat and Markeiff Morris also had 14 points for Phoenix, who had six players in double figures.

The Suns followed up a 31-point second quarter with a 30-point second half -- giving back a 13-point lead with 9:35 left by making only four baskets the rest of the way. But one, a Marcin Gortat layup off a Goran Dragic feed with 13.6 second left, tied the game at 77-77 and forced overtime when Ricky Rubio air-balled an 18-footer in the final seconds.

Down by as many as 18 in a dismal first half and 13 in the fourth quarter, Minnesota rallied with a 16-3 run, tying the game at 71-71 on a J.J Barea 3-pointer with 4:25 left. The Timberwolves kept coming, taking their first lead since the first basket of the game at 76-75 on a Dante Cunningham three-point play with 1:22 to go. But the Suns forced overtime as the Timberwolves missed seven straight shots including their first four of overtime.

Somebody had to win the game. Both in last place in their divisions, the Timberwolves had lost 18 of 22 and 24 of 32 dating back to Dec. 17, while the Suns had dropped 11 of 14 and 24 of 32 beginning Dec. 22. And both teams showed why they have struggled so mightily during an evening of sluggish basketball.

The Timberwolves scored a season-low 33 points in the first half -- six shy of the franchise record -- and missed 29 of 44 shots as the Suns built their lead to as many as 18.

The teams shot a combined 33 percent in the first quarter and had only four more field goals (13) than turnovers (nine) while collecting only 31 points. A Dragic free throw with 44 seconds left gave the Suns a meager 16-15 lead.

The second quarter was much different -- for the Suns. They scored the first 10 points; with an 11-foot floater from Michael Beasley giving Phoenix a 26-15 lead. Minnesota missed 19 of 25 shots in the quarter -- including all eight three-point attempts -- and Dragic's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left in the half pushed the Phoenix lead to 18 at 47-29.

NOTES: Rubio came into the game with 23 steals in his previous five games. "He does such a nice job of anticipating," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "He's always in the right spot, recognizes what the other team is doing, and he always has good hands. Even last year, when he got hurt, he was in the top five in steals." ... Heading into the game, Rubio (14) and Dragic (12) ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the league in steals since the All-Star break. ... Adelman coached in his 1,681st NBA game, second only to George Karl (1,862) among active coaches. His counterpart, Lindsay Hunter, notched game No. 17 ... Dragic entered the game with at least 10 points, 10 assists and two steals in four straight games. The last Sun to accomplish that feat? Jason Kidd in 1998-99.
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