By BRIAN HALL
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 31 points, D’Angelo Russell had 17 and the Minnesota Timberwolves held off the short-handed Phoenix Suns 121-116 on Friday night.
Taurean Prince added 16 points off the bench and fellow reserve Naz Red had 13 points for Minnesota. The Timberwolves won for the fourth time in five games and bounced back from a 135-118 loss in Detroit on Wednesday night.
Damion Lee led Phoenix with 31 points and Mikal Bridges had 24. The Suns were again without stars Chris Paul and Devin Booker, along with Cameron Johnson and backcourt backups Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet.
Deandre Ayton returned after missing two games with a left ankle sprain and had 11 points and 11 rebounds, but the big center struggled against Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert. Ayton shot just 5 of 18 from the field.
The Suns are 6-17, the third-fewest wins in the NBA, since ending November with a 15-6 record. They have been without Booker, their leading scorer for much of that stretch.
Edwards scored seven points during a 12-0 run by the Timberwolves in the first quarter that established a 21-9 lead. Minnesota never trailed again, taking the lead out to 24 points against a depleted Phoenix team that had beaten the Wolves in the previous six meetings.
Minnesota won four straight games between a pair of disappointing losses to the Pistons, who were in last place in the East at the time.
Phoenix closed within six in the final minutes, but Edwards helped Minnesota withstand the late run.
Suns: Booker has missed 17 of the past 18 games with a left groin strain and only played four minutes in the one game he played. The team is 4-14 in that stretch. … Paul has missed the last four games with right hip soreness. Payne (right foot sprain) has missed the last five games and Shamet (right hip soreness) has missed three in a row. … Johnson, who’s been out since Nov. 4 after knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, warmed up before the game. … Phoenix had 19 turnovers leading to 17 points.
Timberwolves: Gobert only took one shot, but he finished with four points and 12 rebounds. … Minnesota had 15 turnovers that led to 25 points. … The Wolves scored 64 points in the paint.
Suns: Finish a four-game trip Monday in Memphis.
Timberwolves: Host Cleveland on Saturday night.
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