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4 Lipiec, 2018 - 04:07

MINNEAPOLIS - Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves were 10 minutes away from snapping a torturous losing streak that has already turned this season into a lost cause.Then an old, familiar face stepped in for the Phoenix Suns to remind the Wolves of their failures of the past and help prolong the misery of the present.Gerald Green scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to scorch his former team and the Suns handed the Timberwolves their 13th straight loss, 113-111 on Wednesday night.Green came to Minnesota from Boston in the Kevin Garnett trade in 2007, but the Wolves — and the Celtics, Nets, Pacers and Mavericks — never were able to coax the kind of instant offence out of him that the Suns have nurtured the last two seasons.Green hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, helping the Suns wipe away a seven-point deficit to start the period in the blink of an eye. Goran Dragic added 25 points and the Suns (22-16) survived a scare from the undermanned Timberwolves to win for the 10th time in 12 games.He got to the Gerald we all know and love, coach Jeff Hornacek said. Coming down, pulling up for 3s, and just letting them go sometimes and that was huge getting us back in the game.Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points, but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game for the Timberwolves, who havent won since Dec. 10. Mo Williams added 23 points and 11 assists and the Wolves led by as many as 13 points. But they turned the ball over 22 times to fall to 5-29 on the season.I see growth in each one of our young guys game, Williams said. But I think the main goal now is to win a basketball game. Growth is good. Great for you guys to write about. Good story. But we dont like losing.Its already been a long, cold winter for the Wolves, who have played most of the season without Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic because of injuries and are headed toward their 11th straight appearance in the lottery. On a night when the temperatures dipped to 9-below zero — prompting the Wolves to take $9 off every available ticket in an effort to get fans to support a struggling team — they led 102-101 with under two minutes to play.But Isaiah Thomas scored on a drive to start a 6-0 burst capped by a steal and dunk by Eric Bledsoe off a poor inbound pass from Chase Budinger that gave Phoenix the lead for good with 55 seconds to play.Wiggins had a great look to win it after Thomas missed a free throw, but the ball clanked off the rim to allow the Suns to escape.I thought it was going in, Wiggins said. Thought it was right on target. Just came off a little short.The Suns shot just 36 per cent and turned the ball over nine times in the first half, allowing the Timberwolves to hang around thanks to 50 per cent shooting.The Suns were 2 for 20 from 3-point range through three quarters before Green got going. He hit three shots from deep in the first three minutes of the fourth, then hit two free throws for an 86-82 lead with 8:22 to play.TIP-INSSuns: Markieff Morris technical foul in the third quarter was his eighth of the season, the second-most by an NBA player this season. ... Alex Len had nine points, eight rebounds and five blocks. ... Bledsoe had 17 points and seven rebounds.Timberwolves: Flip Saunders said Martin and Pekovic participated in some light contact on Wednesday morning and are getting closer to returning. Saunders said it will take some time for them to get their conditioning back before theyre ready to play. ... The Wolves waived PF Jeff Adrien a day before having to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season.TENSE MOMENTTelevision replays showed a heated exchange between Hornacek and Marcus Morris in the third quarter after Morris picked up a technical foul. Morris had to be pulled away by an assistant coach after yelling at Hornacek.Everyone is competing and laying it out there, Hornacek said. I like our guys playing with emotion, but theyve got to control it sometimes.Morris declined to comment on it to reporters after the game, but did tweet an apology after leaving the arena.Gotta be a better professional for my younger teammates and cant let my emotions get the best of me, Morris wrote on Twitter. Love my coach and my team. Great win.UP NEXTSuns: Visit San Antonio on Friday.Timberwolves: Visit Milwaukee on Friday. 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Edwin Encarnacion had a two-out, bases loaded two-RBI double in the third inning.Prior to the start of this season, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers had very different expectations. The Oilers fan base was expecting the teams first playoff berth since the 2005-2006 season while the Flames were entering a franchise rebuild after trading cornerstone Jarome Iginla at the trade deadline the previous season and losing long-time starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff to retirement. On Saturday night, the Flames skated to an 8-1 romp over the Oilers in Edmonton, leaving many to wonder which team was further ahead in the race for the playoffs next season. Not surprisingly, the Flames currently sit well outside of a playoff spot with most fans showing the patience and support for the rebuild that president of hockey operations and interim general manager Brian Burke has asked for. The Oilers, on the other hand, now sit last in the Western Conference, six points behind the Flames and mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a fan base fed up with a fifth straight losing season. President of hockey operations Kevin Lowe pronounced the team to be "poised for greatness" last season, yet that greatness remains to be seen. With both team already looking toward next season, the question in the Battle of Alberta is which team will make the playoffs first: the Flames or the Oilers? On paper, it would appear the advantage is with the Oilers. The team has three former first-overall draft picks on their roster and two other first-round picks in Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle. Their goaltending tandem is set for next season with Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth and the team has their 2013 first-round pick, Darnell Nurse, developing in the OHL. However, the Oilers recent struggles has surrounded the team with question marks, including entertaining thoughts of trading one of the young stars to meet another need.dddddddddddd The Flames appear to be on a much steadier course, trusting in Burke to put together a team that will enter the playoffs in the near future. Burkes history with rebuilding the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs inspires confidence that, with time, the team will reach the playoffs. Burke also put the finishing touches on the Anaheim Ducks that propelled them to a Stanley Cup. "I think I add a value. Ive been able to fix just about every team Ive worked for, sometimes quicker than others." Burke said when he was introduced as a member of Flames organization. Burke also inspired confidence with his 2013 first-round draft pick Sean Monahan. Monahan is second on the Flames in goals this season with 19 and fifth on the team in total points with 31. Both the Oilers and Flames will likely be in the draft lottery this season with a chance to select first overall, a disappointment for Edmonton and an expectation for Calgary. "Im an impatient guy. We have to do some bold things to move this team forward in a rapid fashion. We have to a better job arming our coaches and our core players with a group to get us to a highly-competitive level," Craig MacTavish said when he was introduced was the Oilers general manager last season. Moving forward, the Battle of Alberta may be turning into a race to see which team will make the playoffs first. Will the Flames steady rebuild pay off with a post-season entrance before the Oilers find a solution to their recent woes? Or will the Oilers embarrassment of young talent come together and deliver the playoff appearance fans are growing restless for? So, which team will make the playoffs first: the Oilers or Flames? As always, its Your! Call. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '