PHOENIX (AP) – Devin Booker returned from a six-game absence to score 28 points and Phoenix beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-99 on Saturday night, giving the Suns a two-game winning streak for the first time in almost a year.
Deandre Ayton had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, including 10 points and five boards in the fourth quarter, when Phoenix pulled away. T.J. Warren added 21 points for Phoenix.
The Suns, coming off a victory over Dallas on Thursday, last won two in a row on Dec. 26-29, 2017.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 for the Timberwolves but only seven in the second half. Derrick Rose added 25 for Minnesota, which finished 0-4 on a western road trip and is 2-12 on the road this season.
The Suns played without Trevor Ariza after agreeing to trade him to Washington for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced by either team.
Neither team led by more than six points in a tight first half that ended with Minnesota up 58-56.
Booker, who had been out with a strained hamstring, scored the first four in a 6-0 spurt that gave the Suns an 85-77 lead with 1:20 left in the third quarter. Josh Jackson’s dunk capped the spurt on a fast break after Mikal Bridges’ block of Andrew Wiggins’ shot. Dario Saric sank a 3 and Wiggins hit a 19-footer to cut the Suns’ lead to 85-82 entering the final period.
After Rose’s basket to start the fourth quarter cut it to 85-84, Phoenix scored 11 straight, including Ayton’s three-point play, to lead 96-84 on Warren’s bank shot with 6:59 left.
Rose scored five straight to make it a seven-point game but Ayton and Warren each scored inside and Minnesota never threatened seriously again.
TRADE IN PROGRESS
While the Suns wouldn’t confirm the trade, Ariza was officially “not with the team.” The deal is expected to be finalized on Monday, when the Suns are in New York to face the Knicks.
Timberwolves: Taj Gibson was out for personal reasons. He had started every game this season. … Minnesota is 0-11 on the road against Western Conference teams. … Minnesota’s only road wins are at Brooklyn and at Cleveland. … Minnesota was 2 of 12 on 3-pointers in the first half and finished 7 of 35.
Suns: Phoenix’s victory over Dallas on Thursday was its first of the season without Booker. … Booker made seven of his first eight shots and finished 10 of 16. He had seven assists and seven rebounds. … Jackson missed his first seven shots and finished 2-of-10 from the field
Timberwolves: host Sacramento on Monday.
Suns: at New York on Monday.