PHOENIX (AP) – Karl-Anthony-Towns had 25 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists and the Minnesota Timberwolves took an early lead and rolled past the short-handed Phoenix Suns 118-91 on Tuesday night.
Josh Okogie added a career-high 21 points for the Timberwolves, who beat the Suns for the second time in a row, following a 116-114 win in Minneapolis on Sunday, when Derrick Rose sank the game-winner on a drive at the buzzer.
In both games, Phoenix was without centers Deandre Ayton (left ankle sprain) and Richaun Holmes (right foot sprain).
Devin Booker scored 14 for Phoenix before he and Minnesota’s Gorgui Deng were ejected with 5:24 left in the third quarter. Phoenix already trailed by 20 by then.
Josh Jackson had a season-high 27 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, which lost its fifth straight. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 13 and Dragan Bender, who started at center, had 12 points and 10 boards.
Andrew Wiggins scored 17 and Jared Bayless 14 for Minnesota.
It was a far cry from the tight game the teams played two days earlier.
The Suns never led and were down by as many as 30 in the second half.
Phoenix trailed only 44-42 after Bender’s 3-pointer midway through the second quarter but the Timberwolves outscored the Suns 20-7 the final 6:33 of the half to lead 64-49 at the break. Towns had 20 points and 11 rebounds in the first quarters.
Minnesota stretched it to 80-60 on Bayless’ fourth 3 of the night with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves led 82-62 with 5:24 left in the third quarter when Booker and Dieng got into a brief altercation, with Booker getting knocked down and responded with a hand to Dieng’s face. After a video review, both were ejected. Since Booker is averaging 24.5 points per game and Dieng 5.4, Minnesota got the obvious advantage of that one.
Timberwolves: Jeff Teague missed the game with left foot soreness. … Tyus Jones missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. … Timberwolves have another pair of consecutive games against the same opponent next week, against Utah on Friday and Sunday. … Minnesota has won six of nine games. … Timberwolves won the season series 2-1.
Suns: Phoenix has had four stretches of at least five losses in a row this season. … Booker drew a technical foul from the bench in the second quarter. … Oubre snapped a string of seven straight games of at least 14 points, longest such stretch of his career. …. Booker is averaging 24 points and a career-high seven assists. James Harden and LeBron James are the only others to have done that so far this season.
Timberwolves: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Suns: Host Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
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