KAT in early foul trouble, but came back big in second half

Timberwolves All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns didn't play the entire second quarter of Tuesday night's Game 2 against Phoenix because of foul trouble.

"I was pretty motivated," he said after a 105-93 victory at Target Center. "Pretty motivated."

After sitting out because of three first-half fouls, he played nearly 10 minutes in the third quarter. He scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and went 2-for-4 from the field, including 1-for-3 on threes.

The Wolves outscored the Suns 28-20 in the third quarter to put some distance between the teams after the Wolves had led 51-50 at halftime.

"Super proud of KAT," Wolves coach Chris Finch said. "Staying locked in after foul trouble and then having a big third for us, offensively, defensively and on the glass. He kept making the right play. He didn't shoot the ball great, but I still thought he did the right things to unlock a lot of good shots."

Said Towns: "This is the time to win. I'm just doing whatever it takes to win the game. Some days, it may be 30 [points]. Some days, it may be I have to play defense at a high, high level that people don't expect from me all the time.

"I've shown spurts of that all year, and now I have to show it on the biggest stage of the year."

Looking at the long run

Now in his ninth NBA season, Phoenix star Devin Booker has been in enough playoff series to know this: Don't overreact, especially after one game.

Last season, the Suns lost their playoff opener at home to the Los Angeles Clippers 115-110, then won the next four games. A year later, the Suns lost Game 1 of their first-round series 120-95 to the Wolves at Target Center.

"I'm not saying we're going to win the next four games," Booker said before Game 2. "But there was a lot of overreacting after we lost Game 1 to the Clippers. It's a series. That's the beauty of the playoffs. That's why everybody loves it."

Unfortunately for Booker, he had another tough night, fouling out with 20 points and a minus-24 rating Tuesday.

"You see the same team over and over, and it's adjustment vs. adjustment," Booker said. "I always say everybody thinks you win one and you're going to sweep. You lose one, and they think you're going to be swept. That's what everybody feels. That's the beauty of our sport."

If Game 5 is needed . . .

The NBA announced after Tuesday's game that if the Wolves-Suns series reaches a Game 5, it is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. tip-off and will be shown on TNT and Bally Sports North.

Allen hurt again

The Suns called small forward Grayson Allen questionable for Game 2 with an ankle injury, and Finch said backup forward Kyle Anderson was a game-time decision because of a hip pointer.

Allen started and made his first shot, a three-pointer, before the game was four minutes old. But he left 2 minutes, 43 seconds into the third quarter, favoring his ankle, and did not return.

Anderson was active and on the bench but did not play.

Coming home

Minneapolis native and former Breck star David Roddy is on the Suns bench as a backup small forward after Phoenix acquired him and Royce O'Neale in a February trade-deadline deal involving three teams. Roddy played at Colorado State and was a first-round draft pick (23rd overall) by Philadelphia in 2022.

A finalist for Minnesota Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football, he averaged 18.1 minutes and 6.5 points in 65 combined regular-season games with Memphis and Phoenix.

"He's a heck of a young player," Suns coach Frank Vogel said. "Very, very tough. Very, very smart player. Someone who's going to help us in the future if we get into injuries or foul trouble. I'm confident throwing him into a game. He has fit into our culture by being a high-character guy, a likable guy. We're really excited about what he brings to the table."

Roddy got in at garbage time Tuesday but didn't score.

Split opinions

TNT's in-studio broadcast crew was split on its picks before the series started: Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith took the Wolves, and Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson chose the Suns.