Suns Fall to Minnesota's Late Rally

Barry Gossage/NBAE
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If the ending of Tuesday night's loss to Minnesota seemed familiar, it's only because Phoenix knew they had followed the same formula from Sunday night's setback to Houston.

Phoenix led by eight in the fourth quarter before allowing Minnesota to outscore them 27-10 over the final eight minutes, leading to a 110-101 loss.

Goran Dragic appeared poised to fend off the Timberwolves' comeback bid after back-to-back buckets to put Phoenix on top by three with 4:21 remaining, but he fouled out two possessions later on a loose ball foul.

Head Coach Jeff Hornacek, however, said the team's late-game defense, not Dragic's disqualification, was the difference down the stretch.

"You've got to be determined," Hornacek said. "When you're playing good teams, if you don't buckle down in that fourth quarter and try to guard your own man and expect help, that's when you get in trouble. Good teams pick you apart. That's what they did."

The loss overshadowed 28 fast break points by the Suns and a bench effort that provided 50 of Phoenix's 101 points on the night. They'll look to snap a two-game losing streak tomorrow at Utah.

TURNING POINT

Ish Smith scored or assisted on eight straight points to give Phoenix its eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

After Dragic fouled out later in the period, it looked as though Markieff Morris (24 points) might shoulder the load after hitting a jumper to give Phoenix a 97-96 lead with 3:26 remaining.

Instead the Timberwolves scored 10 straight and held the Suns scoreless for two-and-half minutes to pull away.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

"Down the stretch, when we're making that push toward the playoffs, youv'e got to execute defensively more than you do offensively." -- Ish Smith

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Markieff Morris turned in his third straight game of at least 20 points, leading the team in scoring with 24 points in 32 minutes off the bench.

Over his last five games, Morris is averaging 19.4 points on 54.7 percent shooting.

PHOTO OF THE NIGHT

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STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT

14: the number of lead changes in a game that saw Minnesota up by 10 and the Suns lead by nine at different points.

HIGHLIGHT RUNNER-UP