Sunday matinees have a way of bringing out the best in the Phoenix Suns’ offense and the worst in their defense.
Despite allowing 73 first half points and falling behind by as many as 22 points to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Suns rallied with third and fourth quarters of 31 and 35 points respectively to escape with a 127-120 victory at the Target Center.
It might not have tasted as good as some Sunday brunch, but the comeback victory was sweet nonetheless.
Here’s a look back at how it happened by the numbers:
The Suns improved to 18-0 this season when shooting over 50 percent from the field. Phoenix connected on 46-of-80 shots for a 57.6 percent afternoon from the field.
Triple-doubles and Kevin Love. They just don’t seem to want to go together when the former UCLA standout faces the Suns. The All-Star forward had another monster performance against Phoenix, but once again fell one assist shy of a triple-double. He did, however, score a game-high 36 points and grab a game-high 14 boards.
Small forward P.J. Tucker picked up his 10th technical of the season in the victory. The Suns are one of two teams to have two players — Tucker and Markieff Morris — with at least 10 technical fouls.
In addition to Tucker, Gerald Green and assistant coach Mike Longabardi were issued technical fouls.
Phoenix’s 22-point comeback marks a new season-high — eclipsing the 20-point deficit it overcame in Cleveland (Jan. 26) and the 21-point deficit it overcame in Denver (Dec. 20).
Markieff Morris was largely responsible for igniting the comeback. Morris scored a team-high 25 points, his 15th 20-point effort of the season. Phoenix is 11-4 when he scores at least 20.
Morris also has an impressive streak dating back to Feb. 11 in which he’s scored double digits in 19 of 20 games.
If Friday night’s fourth quarter wasn’t an indication, Eric Bledsoe is officially back. The first-year Sun scored 21 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds. He also finished with an astonishing plus/minus of 28 — a game-high.
41 and 73
While the Suns left Minneapolis with the much-needed win, they also recorded two new season-highs they’ll likely want to forget. The Timberwolves’ output at the end of the first (41) and second quarters (73) were the most or tied for the most by an opponent in 2013-14.
Both Phoenix and Minnesota finished with 50 points in the paint Sunday. That by itself isn’t that noteworthy, other than the fact that the Suns allowed 26 in just the first 12 minutes of play.
By himself, Markieff Morris outscored Minnesota’s bench 25-20. With nice contributions as well from Marcus Morris, Ish Smith and Gerald Green, the Suns finished the contest with a 41-point advantage in the battle between reserves.
In the seven-point triumph, Phoenix surpassed the 120-point mark for the 11th time in 70 games. Sunday’s 127 points, though, were the most for the Suns away home since a 139-137 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers back on March 22, 2011.