The Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves squared off Thursday night in a battle of rested and rusty against tired and sloppy. The resulting ugly basketball game did no credit to either side or the National Basketball Association. In the end, one team did win the contest...seemingly by default.
The Suns got their act together first after about 33 minutes of ugly play and got the win. The spark started late in the third quarter and powered a 11-4 run that gave Phoenix a lead they were able to nurse to the finish line.
Grant Hill had 15 of his team-high 20 points in that third quarter and brought exceptional energy on the defensive end for his entire 37 minutes of play. The 39-year-old great looked rested and lively and locked in. The same could not be said for all of his mates.
Also deserving some praise was Shannon Brown and Robin Lopez who both played well in their fourth quarter stints. Lopez had six rebounds and two blocks in 13 minutes of play while Brown added 12 points off the bench in 24 minutes of action.
In the Steve Nash vs. Ricky Rubio battle, it was Nash with 13 points, 17 assists and eight rebounds while his Spanish understudy recorded 13 points and just two dimes.
"He's one of the best players ever and you always try to be close to them. He knows how to play, he's smart and like I said, he's one of the best ever. He knows how to control the game and he passes very well, which option he has to find for the team and he just runs it and does it," Rubio said about Nash.
"It was great to play against him and see first hand what type of player he is. He definitely lives up to billing. Very, very good player, clever, and plays with a great energy," Nash said about Rubio.
The Suns held the Timberwolves to 39 percent shooting and won the battle of the boards 44-37. That allowed them to overcome 11 first half turnovers (16 total) and beat the Wolves in the paint 44-36.
The Suns plays Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers while the Wolves are happy to have survived their third game in three nights without losing their lunch all over the court.