What: Phoenix Suns (7-3) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (5-6)
When: 6:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
DraftKings Betting Lines: Suns -1, O/U 222.5, Suns Moneyline -115
The Phoenix Suns face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second meeting between the teams this season Wednesday night at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The game will be televised by Bally Sports Arizona.
The Suns are looking to get back in the win column after they suffered their third loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on the road Monday night. Phoenix fell in a 16-point first-half deficit and cut the lead to four by the end of the third quarter but could not complete the comeback, being outscored in the fourth quarter 25-18.
With starting forward Cam Johnson expected to miss one to two months with a right meniscus tear, Torrey Craig started for the Suns and finished with just three points on 1-of-6 shooting. Starting point guard Chris Paul left the game after 14 minutes played due to heel soreness and backup guards Cameron Payne (28 minutes) and Damion Lee (26 minutes) played the most of any player off the bench.
The Suns have suffered back-to-back losses only seven times over the last two seasons. Entering Wednesday’s game, Minnesota has lost four of its last five games. The Timberwolves’ starting lineup — which includes offseason trade acquisition and center Rudy Gobert with D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels and Karl-Anthony Towns — has the NBA’s worst offensive rating per 100 minutes, according to NBA.com.
The Suns defeated the Timberwolves at Footprint Center in Phoenix Nov. 1, 116-107. Each of Minnesota’s starters was at least a minus-12 in the game, a dominant effort for the Suns’ first unit.
Here are some of the notable statistics for each team provided by TeamRankings.
- Points per game: Phoenix (No. 15, 112.4), Minnesota (No. 12, 113.7)
- Assists per game: Phoenix (No. 7, 27.6), Minnesota (No. 10, 26.4)
- Rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 20, 51.1), Minnesota (No. 7, 54.6)
- Average scoring margin: Phoenix (No. 2, +8.9), Minnesota (No. 16 (-0.8)
- Offensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 7), Minnesota (No. 23)
- Team shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 11, 47.3), Minnesota (No. 13, 47.1)
- Effective field goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 13, 53.9), Minnesota (No. 18, 53.5)
- 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 15, 36.1), Minnesota (No. 26, 32.5)
- 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 12, 53.8), Minnesota (No. 3, 56.5)
- Blocks per game: Phoenix (No. 8, 5.9) Minnesota (No. 13, 5.6)
- Turnovers per game: Phoenix (No. 6, 13.7), Minnesota (No. 25, 16.3)
- Opponent points per game: Phoenix (No. 2, 103.5), Minnesota (No. 19, 114.5)
- Opponent shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 3, 43.8), Minnesota (No. 4, 44.2)
- Opponent effective field-goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 2, 50.4), Minnesota (No. 8, 52.2)
- Opponent 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 18, 36.3), Minnesota (No. 23, 37.1)
- Opponent 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 2, 48.1), Minnesota (No. 4, 49.6)
- Opponent total rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 14, 51.3), Minnesota (No. 25, 55.6)
Likely Starting Lineups
G Cameron Payne
G Devin Booker
F Mikal Bridges
F Torrey Craig
C Deandre Ayton
G D’Angelo Russell
G Anthony Edwards
F Jaden McDaniels
F Karl-Anthony Towns
C Rudy Gobert
Chris Paul (sore right heel) OUT tonight vs. #Timberwolves #Suns— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) November 9, 2022
- Cam Johnson (right knee) is OUT
- Chris Paul (heel soreness) is OUT
- Jae Crowder (making burner accounts) is NOT WITH TEAM
- None listed, per ESPN.com.
Courtesy of lockervision.nba.com
What to Watch For
The Suns controlled most of their game against the Timberwolves Nov. 1, leading by as many as 15 points and dominating Minnesota’s starters.
Only two of the Timberwolves’ starters (Towns and Edwards) scored in double figures, and their starting five especially struggled from the field (21-of-53, 39.6 percent). Meanwhile, every Suns starter was at least a plus-11 and four of those five players scored in double figures.
The Suns will not have Johnson to space the floor, so Craig must be a capable shooter to get Towns and Gobert out from under the rim. That should create cutting opportunities for Mikal Bridges and others, which would only help the Suns if they cannot shoot well from 3-point range.
If Paul is out, we should expect to see more Cam Payne and Damion Lee. Lee should be a capable defender but how successful he will be against Edwards, one of the league’s top young talents, will be something to watch.
The Suns and the Trail Blazers have played 121 times in their history dating back to the 1989-90 season. Phoenix leads the all-time series 78-43 and has won eight of the last nine meetings dating back to the 2019-20 season.
Keys to a Suns Win
Towns and Gobert give Minnesota a clear edge in the paint against the Suns, evident in Minnesota’s 56.5 percentage on shots inside the arc, which ranks No. 3 in the NBA.
Phoenix made Gobert a non-factor with just one shot attempt in its previous victory. The Suns were a minus-eight in rebounding, so they will certainly have to be competitive to have a great chance at a win.
Edwards is a high-level playmaker (22.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game) so the Suns will have to contain him to have the best possible result. He had a 42-point game in Phoenix during the 2020-21 season, so he is very capable of exploding against the Suns.
Phoenix shot 17-of-43 (39.5 percent) from 3-point range in its win against Minnesota, which could be another differentiating factor Wednesday. The more the Suns can keep the Timberwolves out of the game, the better.
The Suns have rarely suffered back-to-back losses over the last two seasons, making it hard to bet against that. Phoenix has also had great success against the Timberwolves of late, winning each of their four last meetings in Minneapolis.
We’ll take the Suns to respond with a victory Wednesday night.
Suns 120, Timberwolves 113
When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube.