The Minnesota Timberwolves are returning from their three-game road trip and are riding a three-game losing streak.
If the Wolves are able to escape with a victory tonight and then beat the Jazz on Monday, the Wolves will finish the season 21-20 at the Target Center this year. That would be the Timberwolves' first winning record at home since the 2005-06 season. It would also be the first 20-win home games since the 2006-07 season.
Despite facing the Western Conference's worst team, the Wolves want have it easy in this one. The Wolves are playing their fourth game in five days. This is Minnesota's second set of four games in five nights in the past two-and-a-half weeks. The Suns on the other hand, have been waiting in the Twin Cities for the past two days to play tonight's game.
The Suns have definitely had their struggles this season as well. The first generation of this post-Steve Nash era is not doing so well. They've gone through a coaching change and despite some talented players (Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola & Marcin Gortat) just couldn't sort it out and are 24-55 this season.
The Suns have lost 16 of their last 19, but they snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 102-91 win over Dallas, it also ended their seven-game road losing streak.
The Wolves have gone 2-1 this season vs. the Suns and this is the last matchup of the season. If the Wolves win tonight, it will be the first season series win over Phoenix since they swept them in 2003-04. Phoenix had won six-straight in Minnesota until this season when the Wolves won 111-107 on Dec. 29th. Pekovic led the way in that one with 28 points & 11 rebounds. Pekovic is averaging 18.4 points and 62.3% FG in his last five meetings with Phoenix. Will he be available tonight, though?...
The Wolves were without Pek last night as he sat out with a left quad contusion. There's been no word yet on whether or not he'll play in this one. If he doesn't expect Greg Stiemsma to get his 18th start of the year. The Wolves will also be without Kevin Love (hand/knee), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip).
The Suns will be without Channing Frye (heart) who should be back next season, Marcin Gortat (foot) who is listed as out indefinitely, but does hope to play at least one more game this season and Michael Beasley (personal). Beasley's wife recently had a baby, though it sounds as though he is expected to be in Minnesota and play in this one.
The Wolves REALLY missed Nikola Pekovic (16.3P, 8.8R, 0.8B) in last night's loss in Utah. Al Jefferson just bullied Stiemsma in the post. Tonight, if Pek isn't able to play, it won't be as big a disadvantage as Stiemer will be matched up with Luis Scola. Scola is a talented big man with an array of post moves. While Big Al is known league-wide for that, the physicality of Jefferson is much greater when compared to Scola.
This will also be former Wolves Michael Beasley & Wesley Johnson's second return to the Twin Cities this season. In a lost season, the Suns have begun to play some of their younger players and that's a big reason that Wes finds himself starting at shooting guard again.
Tipoff for this one is set for 7pmCT from the Target Center, enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!