Booker scores 35 as short-handed Suns beat Wolves 100-98


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Devin Booker had 35 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, and the Phoenix Suns beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-98 on Saturday in a matchup of short-handed teams.

Kelly Oubre Jr. added 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who had lost three in a row.
Phoenix was clinging to a 98-95 lead when Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns missed a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left from just inside the half-court line. Booker went to the line and iced the game with a pair of free throws.

Phoenix shot a season-low 34.4% from the field but tied a season low with seven turnovers. It also made 24 of 26 foul shots, outscoring Minnesota by 14 from the line.
Playing without starting point guard Ricky Rubio and center Aron Baynes, the Suns led by as many as 12 before the Timberwolves rallied.

Towns had 31 points and 17 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost four of five. Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 22 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 21.

Booker just missed his first career triple-double but he answered every Minnesota challenge.

Booker’s 17 points in the third quarter helped Phoenix regain control after Minnesota tied the game. Towns hit a pair of 3s and had nine points as the Wolves went on a 15-4 run.

With the game tied 65-all, the Suns finished the third on a 17-8 run as Booker scored six and Oubre had five during the stretch.

When the Wolves closed within two in the final minutes, Booker hit a teardrop jump shot in the lane over Towns. Wiggins answered but Booker was there on the other end for a pair of free throws.

Suns: Rubio was out of the lineup for the third time in four games with back spasms. Baynes, who has been starting in place of the suspended Deandre Ayton, missed his third straight game with a right hip flexor strain. … Phoenix had 17 assists on 19 made field goals in the first half. The Suns finished with 22 assists on 33 makes. … Oubre is averaging 23.0 points on 45.7% shooting over his last five games. … Phoenix is in a stretch of playing five games in seven days.

Timberwolves: Minnesota was without Robert Covington (personal reasons), Josh Okogie (left knee soreness), Jake Layman (left toe sprain) and Shabazz Napier (right hamstring strain). It was the second time in four games Okogie has been out with the injury. Layman missed his second straight game. … G Treveon Graham was listed as available for the Wolves with a left arm contusion but didn’t play. … Towns has made at least three 3-pointers in eight consecutive games, the longest such streak in NBA history by a player listed as a center. He entered the day third in the league in made 3s.

Suns: Finish a back-to-back set Sunday in Denver.

Timberwolves: Travel to play Atlanta on Monday.

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