Cincinnati.com
National Basketball Association
Preview
Minnesota at Phoenix
When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't having much luck on their road trip, especially on the defensive end. The Timberwolves will try to end the four-game trip on a high note when they visit the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

Minnesota allowed an average of 123.3 points over the first three games of its road trip, capped by a 141-130 setback at the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. "The disappointment was in our defense," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters. "If you can’t play defense, you can’t win in this league. We gave them everything." The Suns own the worst record in the NBA but snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 99-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. "We went into the game, mindset was on 100," Phoenix small forward TJ Warren told reporters. "Everybody brought it. Effort and energy was all there throughout the game. They made a little run, but we responded. We were composed throughout the game and finished the game with a win."

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FS North (Minnesota), FS Arizona (Phoenix)

ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (13-15): Minnesota allowed Sacramento to shoot 58.1 percent from the floor and knock down 19 3-pointers, and veteran point guard Derrick Rose believes communication is the issue. "You have to make sure you're talking. You have to do everything," Rose told reporters. "Some of the guys, once they contested a shot, they just released. So, if you're not communicating or letting a guy know someone is behind them - you got to talk. Somebody has to pick him up." The Timberwolves are just 2-11 on the road and are allowing an average of 116.4 points away from home.

ABOUT THE SUNS (5-24): Phoenix was ready for the losing streak to end and credited a message from veteran Jamal Crawford at shootaround for sparking the team when he told them to "go home, when you go to sleep, think about winning." Crawford scored 17 points off the bench while Josh Jackson added 14 points and eight rebounds in a reserve role. "Throughout the whole game, we were all looking at each other like, we're not losing this game no matter what," Jackson told reporters. "We're coming out on top."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Suns SG Devin Booker (hamstring) is expected to miss his seventh straight game.

2. Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns recorded a double-double in each of the last five games.

3. The teams split four meetings last season, with each winning once on the road.

PREDICTION: Timberwolves 121, Suns 116
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Minnesota 13-15 L3 11-4 2-11 1-1 12-14 2-3 6-12
Phoenix 5-24 W1 4-11 1-13 0-2 5-22 0-6 4-15
Last Meeting
Minnesota Phoenix
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/23/17 MIN 115 PHO 106 115 47 50.0 106 36 46.5
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota J. Butler 32 52.6 12
Phoenix T. Warren 24 48.0 0
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 14 4 10
Phoenix T. Chandler 15 5 10
Assists Player  
Minnesota J. Teague 6
Phoenix I. Canaan 9
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Minnesota K. Towns 695 49.3 140
Phoenix D. Ayton 519 58.4 69
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Minnesota K. Towns 367 95 272
Phoenix D. Ayton 325 82 243
Assists Player  
Minnesota J. Teague 199
Phoenix D. Booker 128
Quickchart Matchup
Minnesota Minnesota Off vs  Phoenix Phoenix Defense
Minnesota Off vs Phoenix - Points For 110.5 Points For
Minnesota Off vs Phoenix - Points Against 113.2 Points Against
Minnesota - FG% 44.9 FG%
Phoenix - FG% 48.3 FG%
Minnesota - Reb 43.8 Reb
Phoenix - Reb 46.1 Reb
Phoenix Phoenix Off vs  Minnesota Minnesota Defense
Phoenix Off vs Minnesota - Points For 102.1 Points For
Phoenix Off vs Minnesota - Points Against 111.0 Points Against
Phoenix - FG% 45.1 FG%
Minnesota - FG% 45.4 FG%
Phoenix - Reb 40.0 Reb
Minnesota - Reb 46.3 Reb