Devin Booker, the star shooting guard of the Phoenix Suns, made a triumphant return from a calf injury that sidelined him for four games. Booker scored 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range, and added seven rebounds and six assists in 36 minutes of action. He helped the Suns defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 125-109 on Tuesday night at the Target Center.
Booker showed no signs of rust or discomfort, as he displayed his usual scoring prowess and playmaking ability. He scored 15 points in the first quarter, setting the tone for the Suns, who led by as many as 23 points in the game. He also hit some clutch shots in the fourth quarter, when the Timberwolves tried to mount a comeback.
Booker said he felt good physically and mentally after the game, and credited his teammates and coaches for supporting him during his recovery.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, and try to help my team win,” Booker said. “I’ve been working hard to get back on the court, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I have a lot of trust in my teammates and coaches, and they’ve been great to me throughout this process.”
Suns extend winning streak to six games
With Booker back in the lineup, the Suns extended their winning streak to six games, improving their record to 14-3, the best in the NBA. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against the Timberwolves, who had beaten them twice this season.
The Suns showed their depth and balance, as six players scored in double figures. Bradley Beal, who made his Suns debut last week after being traded from the Washington Wizards, had 21 points and five assists. Deandre Ayton had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Paul had 15 points and 10 assists. Jae Crowder and Cameron Johnson added 12 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench.
The Suns shot 52.9 percent from the field, and 45.2 percent from beyond the arc, making 19 three-pointers. They also outrebounded the Timberwolves 48-37, and outscored them 58-46 in the paint.
Suns head coach Frank Vogel praised Booker’s performance and the team’s chemistry, saying they are playing with confidence and cohesion.
“Devin was phenomenal tonight. He looked like he didn’t miss a beat,” Vogel said. “He’s a special player, and he makes everyone around him better. I’m really proud of how our team is playing right now. We have a lot of talent, but we also have a lot of unselfishness and trust. We’re playing with a lot of joy and energy, and that’s what you want to see.”
Timberwolves fall to 5-13 despite Edwards’ career-high 42 points
The Timberwolves, who have the worst record in the Western Conference, suffered their third straight loss, despite a career-high 42 points from Anthony Edwards, the second-year guard who was the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Edwards shot 15-of-29 from the field, and 7-of-14 from three-point range, and also had seven rebounds and three steals.
Edwards was the only bright spot for the Timberwolves, who struggled to contain the Suns’ offense and to generate consistent scoring from their other players. Karl-Anthony Towns, the team’s star center, had 16 points and 11 rebounds, but shot 6-of-18 from the field, and 1-of-7 from three-point range. D’Angelo Russell, the team’s starting point guard, had 14 points and six assists, but shot 5-of-16 from the field, and 2-of-9 from three-point range.
The Timberwolves shot 43.5 percent from the field, and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc, making 15 three-pointers. They also committed 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points for the Suns.
Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch lamented his team’s defensive effort and lack of offensive balance, saying they need to play with more urgency and discipline.
“We didn’t do a good job of defending the three-point line, and we didn’t do a good job of moving the ball and finding the open man,” Finch said. “We relied too much on Anthony, who was amazing, but we need more contributions from everyone else. We need to play with more intensity and focus, and not let our opponents dictate the game.”