In an effort to rebound from a close loss, Phoenix faces the team that gave them their biggest win of the season.
The Timberwolves are in town and no doubt would like to deliver payback for Gerald Green’s game-winning jumper with 3.9 seconds left in their last meeting. Phoenix, however, is just as intent on getting back to their winning ways after forfeiting a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Which club will come out on top? Here are five x-factors that will come into play.
Home vs. Road
The Timberwolves are in the midst of a five-game road trip that included a double-digit win at Utah and an 11-point loss at Portland.
Phoenix, meanwhile, is wrapping up four consecutive games within the friendly confines of US Airways Center.
Will Minnesota be travel-weary, or will Phoenix show complacency? Any hint of either scenario will likely show up early in the game.
Phoenix did about as good a job as possible on All-Star forward Kevin Love in their previous meeting, limiting him to just 15 points on 20 percent shooting.
Channing Frye joked after Monday’s practice that Love will undoubtedly hear a lot about that performance and be especially motivated to prove it was a fluke.
The Suns will need to be ready.
Gerald Green has been remarkably consistent of late, scoring in double figures over the last seven straight games, one contest shy of matching his season-high mark.
Green is shooting a scorching 48.6 percent from the field, including 40.4 percent from downtown, in that stretch. If he can keep it up, there will be less pressure on Goran Dragic to turn in a third career-high scoring night for the third time this month.
The Suns were disappointed after giving up 64 points in the paint to Houston on Sunday, an effort they can’t afford to repeat against Minnesota’s one-two frontcourt punch of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
While the latter’s status is up in the air due to a balky ankle, Phoenix will need to put forth a stiffer line of defense at the rim if they want to go up 2-0 on the Timberwolves this season.
Simply put, the Suns are a different team when Miles Plumlee plays well. He is their main true center in the rotation while Alex Len continues to be brought along slowly by Jeff Hornacek and his staff.
Plumlee hasn’t logged double-digit points or rebounds since Feb. 8 and it’s been nearly a month (Jan. 27) since his last double-double, a 14-point, 13-rebound outing against the Sixers.
If the former Duke standout can regain his early-season form, the Suns’ backcourt would have the inside scoring option off pick-and-rolls it thrives with.
The season is winding down! Don’t miss your chance to catch arguably the “best story in the NBA” in action right here at US Airways Center! Head on over to Suns.com’s Ticket Central to get your tickets now!