Pekovic pushes Minnesota past Phoenix
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Nikola Pekovic led six Minnesota players in double figures with 28 points as the Timberwolves edged the Phoenix Suns, 111- 107, on Saturday.
Kevin Love had 23 points and 18 rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko chipped in with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Timberwolves, who put the brakes on a two-game skid.
Alexey Shved had 12 points and 10 assists, while J.J. Barea and Derrick Williams added 10 points apiece in the victory.
"These previous few games we were just struggling, especially in the last few minutes of games" Pekovic said. "But I think tonight we played smart all the way through the fourth quarter."
Luis Scola poured in a game-high 33 points with 10 rebounds, Shannon Brown had 21 points and Goran Dragic added 16 points and 12 assists for the Suns, who fell to 2-13 on the road this season.
The Wolves led 94-88 early in the fourth quarter, but a 12-5 run put the Suns up 102-99 with just 3:47 remaining. Minnesota, though, countered with a 10-4 surge of their own to go up 109-106 with 55.6 seconds to go.
After trading misses, Scola was fouled with 8.7 seconds left and split a pair from the charity stripe to pull within 109-107 and the Suns were forced to foul Shved.
Shved's first attempt rimmed out, but the rookie buried the next try to give the Wolves a 110-107 lead with just 8.1 seconds remaining.
Phoenix called a timeout to advance the ball past midcourt, but Jared Dudley's inbounds pass was stolen by Dante Cunningham, who dribbled down the court before he was fouled with 5.6 ticks showing.
Cunningham split the free throw tries, and Markieff Morris' 3-ball with just under three seconds left was off target and Minnesota held off for the win.
"This is our 11th close game and we cannot finish any of them," Dragic said. "All of those games were close, even tonight's game. We just have to battle and try to get a little bit of confidence."
Minnesota led 32-29 after the first quarter and owned a 64-58 lead at the break.
The Suns outscored the Wolves, 29-25, in the third to pull within 89-87 entering the final frame.
Earlier on Saturday, Minnesota guard Brandon Roy announced he does not plan to retire for a second time, despite suffering a setback in his recovery from right knee surgery.
Roy, who retired temporarily following the 2010-11 season, underwent his seventh surgery to treat chronic knee pain that has plagued him throughout his five-year career on Nov. 19.
The three-time All-Star was reportedly mulling retirement following the setback, but has made it clear he plans to attempt to return to basketball. Roy has played in just five games this season.
Minnesota shot 50.6 percent (45-for-89) from the field, but went just 5-for-18 from behind the arc ... Wolves guard Ricky Rubio sat out with back spasms ... Pekovic grabbed 11 rebounds ... The Suns were a dreadful 2-for-17 from long range.
12/30 01:06:55 ET