Booker, Paul help Suns hold off Timberwolves

Devin Booker and Chris Paul guided the Suns in a high-scoring showdown with Minnesota


Michael Tipton

The Suns continue to hold the NBA’s best record at 39-9.

The Phoenix Suns beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 134-124 on Friday night in a high-scoring battle at Footprint Center.

“On a night where you have to generate offense and your defense isn’t at the level that you want it…you got to score, and we knocked down shots tonight for sure,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said

A cool night in Phoenix wasn’t enough to stop the Suns from getting off to a hot start. Small forward Mikal Bridges had the hot hand, hitting his first four field goal attempts and notching 11 points.

As Bridges cooled down, Devin Booker took off, exploding for 14 points in the first quarter. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field in the first, but Phoenix’s advantage from the free throw line helped them secure an eight-point lead entering the second quarter.

The Timberwolves, led by former first overall pick Anthony Edwards, were able to tie the game up with five minutes remaining in the quarter. Suns point guard Chris Paul helped the hosts pull back ahead with back-to-back baskets as the back-and-forth battle continued.

Phoenix entered halftime with a 74-66 lead. 

“We get a lead, and they fight back,” Paul said

The Suns caught the Timberwolves off-guard with a quick start to the third quarter, widening the lead as center Bismack Biyombo flushed a pass from Booker. But Edwards and Timberwolves center Karl Anthony-Towns had another response, keeping the Suns from expanding their lead even further with several long-range shots. Edwards ended the quarter with a steal and buzzer-beating floater. 

Minnesota appeared to ride the momentum, and the game’s back-and-forth nature continued. As shooting guard Malik Beasley poured in 26 points off the bench to keep the visitors’ upset hopes alive, Cameron Johnson’s and-1 brought Suns fans to their feet and jolted the bench to life. 

The Suns maintained a single-digit advantage, but Paul’s defense and late free throws with under a minute remaining ultimately iced the game for Phoenix.

Booker scored a game-high 29 points, while Paul finished with 14 assists as part of a triple-double. But coach Monty Williams reserved special praise for shooting guard Landry Shamet, whose 17 points off the bench cemented the win. 

“He’s been feeling it lately,” Williams said about Shamet. 

Every Suns starter scored over 14 points as the team stretched its lead atop the NBA’s Western Conference to 3.5 games. Phoenix will look to win their 10th straight game on Sunday when they meet the San Antonio Spurs. 

“Right now, we’re in a good groove as a team,” Paul said.