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Minnesota at Phoenix

Timberwolves 117, Suns 86

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Andrei Kirilenko and the Minnesota Timberwolves were content to let the Phoenix Suns settle for jumpers and dig an ever-deepening hole.

Kirilenko scored 20 points and the Timberwolves routed the slumping Suns 117-86 on Friday night to snap a nine-game road losing streak.

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"We kind of prevented them to score from inside and forced them to take shots outside," Kirilenko said. "They took a lot of shots that they couldn't make."

The Suns came into the game with only one true center on the roster, little-used Hamid Haddadi, who has averaged 18 minutes since starter Marcin Gortat went out on March 6 with a Lisfranc strain in his right foot.

Jermaine O'Neal, Gortat's regular backup, was out with a combination of a strained left calf muscle sustained in the Suns' loss to Washington on Wednesday and a case of the flu.

Phoenix used 6-foot-9 Luis Scola as its nominal center, and Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic wasted little time taking advantage of the Suns' smaller lineup. Kirilenko scored five points to spark an 18-4 run as Minnesota extended an 11-10 lead to 29-14 with 1:24 left in the first quarter.

Overall, the two scored a combined 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the first half as Minnesota opened a 67-39 lead at the break.

"Regardless of who's not here, this is an opportunity for some of our guys," Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said. "You've got to take advantage of the opportunity to play and I don't think guys did that."

Reserve Dante Cunningham added 18 points, Greg Stiemsma had 14 and four others were in double figures for the Timberwolves, who won for the fourth time in 16 games.

Cunningham took over the Timberwolves' offensive load in the third quarter, scoring 12 of his points on 5-of-5 shooting as Minnesota took a 95-69 lead after three.

"We just kept attacking," said Minnesota guard Luke Ridnour, who had 12 points and seven assists. "We did a good job just to continue to run the floor and get midrange and inside shots."

Minnesota set season highs for total points, first-half points (67) and second-quarter points (35) in snapping a 13-game road losing streak against Western Conference opponents.

"We had it going," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "We haven't had a lead like that in a long time. You start getting worried, but we built it back up again and I thought from start to finish they did a great job."

Scola had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Goran Dragic added 13 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who have lost six of seven and eight of their past 10.

Phoenix's last three losses have come by an average of 21 points.

"This is an embarrassment," said P.J. Tucker, who finished with 11 points, one of four Suns in double figures. "There's no way we can play like that, with no energy, and have to come in here and talk to be able to go out there and play hard. We've got to be able to do it from the beginning."

Notes

With the loss, the Suns officially have been relegated to the lottery for the third consecutive year. ... The Suns are 2-7 without Gortat. ... Phoenix will finish with at least its ninth-worst record in the team's 43 seasons and needs to win seven of its final 12 to avoid the team's fifth sub-30 win season. ... The Timberwolves' 95 points through three quarters were more than Minnesota has scored in 31 full games this season. ... Phoenix also was without G Jared Dudley, who also was out with the flu.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Scoreboard
Minnesota (24-43) «31362822117
Phoenix (23-47)1821301786
MIN:A. Kirilenko 20 Pts
MIN:G. Stiemsma 10 Reb
MIN:R. Rubio 8 Ast
PHO:L. Scola 17 Pts
PHO:L. Scola 12 Reb
PHO:G. Dragic 10 Ast
Players of the Game
MinnesotaPhoenix

Andrei Kirilenko

Goran Dragic
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
207113410

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Minnesota
L. Ridnour, PG304-84-427212
R. Rubio, PG293-76-768312
A. Kirilenko, SF256-108-1071120
N. Pekovic, C145-71-420511
D. Williams, PF140-24-46104
G. Stiemsma, C346-102-3101514
D. Cunningham, SF308-112-281018
J. Barea, PG232-70-01405
C. Budinger, SF164-92-420111
A. Shved, PG142-42-22506
M. Gelabale, SF71-30-04012
C. Johnson, PF41-10-00002
B. Roy, SGDid Not Play
K. Love, PFDid Not Play
M. Lee, SGDid Not Play
Totals 42-7931-40502818117
 53.2%77.5% 
Phoenix
G. Dragic, PG335-122-4410313
P. Tucker, SG315-111-261311
L. Scola, PF277-133-4122517
W. Johnson, SF222-123-31417
M. Morris, PF213-60-04037
M. Morris, PF221-91-63143
S. Brown, PG212-80-02134
M. Beasley, PF185-90-050111
K. Marshall, PG181-50-02413
H. Haddadi, C163-40-28146
D. Garrett, PG102-60-01014
J. O'Neal, CDid Not Play
C. Frye, CDid Not Play
M. Gortat, PFDid Not Play
J. Dudley, SFDid Not Play
Totals 36-9510-2148242986
 37.9%47.6% 
Other Games
Mil 78 Final
Ind 102
OKC 97 Final
Orl 89
NY 99 Final
Tor 94
Port 104 Final
Atl 93
Det 89 Final
Mia 103
Mem 83 Final
NO 90
Cle 78 Final
Hou 116
Bos 94 Final
Dal 104
Utah 97 Final
SA 104
Wash 103 Final
LAL 100