The Suns are playing 3 of their next 4 games against playoff teams.
This isn’t one.
The Timberwolves started off the season very well, but as it went on they were wore down by injuries and fatigue. Rookie star point guard Ricky Rubio is out for the season. However, the Suns already had an opportunity to meet the Rubio-less Wolves when they came to Phoenix to spoil their winning streak in an epic 127-124 win in March.
Now, however, the Suns have another advantage: starting point guard Luke Ridnour is probably out with an ankle sprain, meaning even more trouble for the already-depleted Wolves. This of course means that J.J. Barea who was injured in the Wolves’ two trips to Phoenix will be starting, which… might pose a problem, since Barea is incredibly speedy, which is essentially the kind of guard Steve Nash has trouble guarding.
And of course, who would forget the Wolves killer front court? Nikola Pekovic who had Marcin Gortat sitting for most of the last games with the fouls he’s drawn on him, and Kevin Love who murdered the Suns from deep. The Suns will need to close out, box out and play their hearts out to stop this killer offence coached by an extremely good coach in Rick Adelman.
The plan for the Suns must be a simple: Get Pekovic in foul trouble, pick and roll with Gortat and play with the intensity from the last few games. 20 point performances from Michael Redd and Shannon Brown wouldn’t hurt either.
The Playoff Picture:
The Suns are still one game out of the playoffs, and two games outside of 6th placed Houston. Memphis is still in theoretical reach, as the Suns are 3.5 games behind them.
The Mavs (7th) have decided to part ways with Lamar Odom after their rocky ride with the former Laker. He is not going to be waived, and even if he was, he wouldn’t be eligible to join a team. So no, no way the Suns get him.
The Utah Jazz (9th) have lost against the Spurs yesterday and they will face them again, at Utah in a lockoutesque home-and-home stretch. They are currently .5 games behind the Suns in the standings. The Suns own the tie-breaker. The Spurs however, are resting Duncan, Parker and Ginobili (great name for a band, by the way) in the midst of an 11 game winning streak. Greg Poppovich, everyone.
The Nuggets (8th) lost to the Warriors on Saturday, greatly helping Phoenix’ playoff hopes. They’re playing the Warriors again, tonight in Denver.
The Portland Trailblazers have been reported to tank. Then again, they’ve been winning games. Essentially, they’re not really tanking, courtesy of 34 year old (!) interim coach Kaleb Canales, who apparently, can’t get them to suck as much as management would surely want them to. What’s in it for the Suns? They’re playing 6th placed Houston tonight.