What: Phoenix Suns (21-22) at Minnesota Timberwolves (20-22)
When: 6:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
DraftKings Betting Lines: Timberwolves (-5.0), with a 222 O/U
The Phoenix Suns face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota Friday night at 6 p.m. MT. The game will be televised by Bally Sports Arizona.
The Suns are coming off a 126-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night, which was their 10th defeat in their last 12 games. Phoenix is No. 7 in the Western Conference but is severely limited without All-Star guard Devin Booker, who is out for the rest of the month due to a groin injury.
The Suns will also be without backup guard Cameron Payne (right foot strain), usual starting forward Cameron Johnson (recovering from meniscus tear), usual starting point guard Chris Paul (hip soreness) and backup guard Landry Shamet (hip soreness) against the Timberwolves. Phoenix may also be without usual starting center Deandre Ayton, who is questionable for Friday’s game due to an ankle sprain.
This will be the third meeting between the Suns and Timberwolves this season. Phoenix won the first game at home, 116-107, Nov. 1 and then on the road, 129-117, Nov. 9. The Suns have won nine of the their last 10 games overall against the Timberwolves.
Here are some of the notable statistics for each team provided by TeamRankings.
- Points per game: Phoenix (No. 17, 112.7), Minnesota (No. 12, 114.8)
- Assists per game: Phoenix (No. 7, 26.5), Minnesota (No. 12, 25.4)
- Rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 13, 51.7), Minnesota (No. 24, 50.0)
- Average scoring margin: Phoenix (No. 11, +1.3), Minnesota (No. 20, -0.7)
- Offensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 11), Minnesota (No. 20)
- Team shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 21, 46.4), Minnesota (No. 3, 49.1)
- Effective field goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 17, 53.6), Minnesota (No. 7, 55.6)
- 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 3, 38.2), Minnesota (No. 19, 34.7)
- 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 29, 51.3), Minnesota (No. 4, 57.8)
- Blocks per game: Phoenix (No. 12, 5.0), Minnesota (No. 6, 5.3)
- Steals per game: Phoenix (No. 18, 6.9), Minnesota (No. 6, 8.1)
- Turnovers per game: Phoenix (No. 11, 14.1), Minnesota (No. 28, 16.0)
- Opponent points per game: Phoenix (No. 9, 111.4), Minnesota (No. 19, 115.5)
- Opponent shooting percentage: Phoenix (No. 15, 47.1), Minnesota (No. 6, 46.2)
- Opponent effective field-goal percentage: Phoenix (No. 13, 53.7), Minnesota (No. 15, 53.8)
- Defensive efficiency: Phoenix (No. 12), Minnesota (No. 14)
- Opponent 3-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 20, 36.1), Minnesota (No. 29, 36.9)
- Opponent 2-point percentage: Phoenix (No. 8, 53.5), Minnesota (No. 6, 52.8)
- Opponent total rebounds per game: Phoenix (No. 9, 50.8), Minnesota (No. 26, 53.8)
Likely Starting Lineups
- G Duane Washington Jr.
- F Mikal Bridges
- F Torrey Craig
- F Dario Saric
- Deandre Ayton
- G Austin Rivers
- G D’Angelo Russell
- G Anthony Edwards OR G Jaylen Nowell?
- F Jaden McDaniels
- C Rudy Gobert
- G Devin Booker (groin) is OUT
- G Chris Paul (hip soreness) is OUT
- C Deandre Ayton (ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE but expected to play
- F Cam Johnson (right knee) is OUT
- G Landry Shamet (Hip soreness) is OUT
- G Cameron Payne (right foot strain) is OUT
- F Jae Crowder (chillin at home) is NOT WITH TEAM
- F Kyle Anderson (illness) is QUESTIONABLE
- G Anthony Edwards (sore left hip) is QUESTIONABLE
- F Taurean Prince (left ankle sprain) is QUESTIONABLE
- C Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain) is OUT
- G Jordan McLaughlin (left calf strain) is OUT
Courtesy of lockervision.nba.com
What to Watch For
Minnesota could be without its two top players Friday, as Towns has been out since November due to a right calf strain and Edwards is questionable with hip pain.
That should make the game injury-riddled. Phoenix has several of its top players out and is trying to manufacture wins with a heavily-depleted roster.
Friday’s game is important since the Suns rank No. 7 in the West and Minnesota is just one-half game back of them. Phoenix has won two earlier meetings between the teams this season so has the advantage in the case of a tiebreaker, but another win over a conference opponent would be much-needed. Heck, any win would be at this point.
The Suns and Timberwolves have played 122 times in their history dating back to the 1989-90 season, when Minnesota was founded. Phoenix leads the all-time series 79-43.
Keys to a Suns Win
The Suns remain banged up and will have to find ways to get ample scoring and offensive distribution across the board, like they did in their 125-113 win over the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night.
Bridges will need to be a big factor as the Suns do not have one player offensively who can make up for the impact of Booker. He had an increased number of pull-up shots against the Warriors and got to the free-throw line seven times but had just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting against the Nuggets Wednesday. Phoenix had five players in double figures in scoring but the game was essentially over by halftime, when Denver had a 16-point lead.
If Edwards plays, the Suns will have to negate his impact with multiple players. He can be a tiresome matchup since he can get to the rim with his strength and move into his step-back shot at the same proficiency. He is a very threatening player Phoenix will have to limit and then find ways to score offensively.
If he does not play, Phoenix will still have to limit Russell, who is averaging 17.2 points with 6.4 assists this season.
This will be the Suns’ eighth road game in their last 10 contests, which is exhausting in itself. However, it is even more difficult since the team has several injuries and has been on a losing skid lately.
Minnesota will be hurt, too, so Phoenix may not be as severely overmatched. It is coming off a blowout loss but has a chance to respond nicely with a victory Friday night.
The Suns will get this win before a game against another top team in the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies, Monday afternoon.
Suns 99, Timberwolves 95
When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube.