Jefferson, T-Wolves remain hot with stunner over SunsJan 17, 2009 - 6:28 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Coming off their first loss of 2009, the Minnesota Timberwolves weren't about to let another one slip away Friday night.
The T-Wolves staged a 6-0 run with less than two minutes left to pull ahead of the Phoenix Suns, and that was just enough to carry them to a 105-103 road upset.
"We have been dedicating our whole life to coming in here and beating a team like this," T-Wolves guard Randy Foye said. "We just came in here and played our hearts out and left with a victory."
They have now won six of seven and recovered nicely from Tuesday's hard-fought loss to Miami.
"We have won a couple down the stretch and, when you win a few, you start feeling like you can," Minnesota head coach Kevin McHale said. "The guys have been a battling and that is all you can ask for."
This one was a back-and-forth affair, particularly in the fourth quarter.
Shaquille O'Neal knocked down a pair of free throws to put Phoenix on top, 101-100. But Foye answered on the other end, fading away for an improbable 21-footer to put the T-Wolves back in front.
"When you play good teams, you are not going to blow them out," Foye said. "It is always going to be a game in fourth quarter. It is possession after possession, when guys are going to have to make plays on defense and offense."
With Minnesota nursing a two-point lead with just over a minute to play, rookie forward Kevin Love easily intercepted an errant pass by Steve Nash and led a fast break the other way, which Rodney Carney finished with a dunk to make it a four-point game.
"Rodney has been playing with a lot of confidence lately, and it has been showing it on the court," said Love, who finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. "Our bench has been real productive, especially during our five-game winning streak, and tonight it was as well."
The Suns cut that deficit to two and had a chance to win it at the end, but Jason Richardson missed a 3-point attempt from the corner.
"It was designed for me or Steve (Nash); it was definitely was the look I wanted," Richardson said. "It looked good going out of my hands. I definitely want to be one of those guys to take that shot, and I know we could have won the game with that shot but it just fell short."
Al Jefferson registered 22 points and 12 boards while matched up for most of the night against Shaq. This time, he got the better of the future Hall-of-Famer ... even if it was just by one rebound.
The Suns stormed ahead by as many as nine in the second half and appeared on the verge of establishing control for good. For the better part of the third quarter, the T-Wolves had no answer for Phoenix's interior game, as O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire got just about everything they wanted.
The Suns' offense got into a nice rhythm, but Minnesota moved quickly to erase its deficit. Carney - who has seen his playing time dramatically increase over the last four games after garnering only sporadic minutes early on this campaign - buried a pair of 3-pointers over the last 72 seconds of the third.
"They came in, they outworked us on the boards, they got 19 offensive rebounds, we didn't do a good job of keeping them off the boards," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "They had their way in stretches."
The T-Wolves continued their push in the final session, scoring the first six points of the period to pull even at 79-79.
Craig Smith collected 18 points and seven boards for the Timberwolves and Carney added 17 points off the bench.
Nash was held to just six points and six assists for Phoenix, which has dropped two straight. The Suns had won six of seven before Thursday night, when they dropped an overtime heart-breaker on the road to the Denver Nuggets.
PHOENIX 103 FINAL
Jan 16 11:24 PM
PHOENIX 79 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 16 10:44 PM
PHOENIX 53 HALFTIME
Jan 16 10:01 PM
PHOENIX 23 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 16 9:33 PM
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