Wolves @ Suns Gameday

Jonah Ballow
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves @ Suns 9:00 PM - U.S. Airways Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 1130 AM

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

Notable Injuries:
* Kevin Love (groin) - DOUBTFUL
* Darko Milicic (ankle) - DOUBTFUL

* Steve Nash (hamstring) - DAY-TO-DAY
* Mickael Pietrus (quad) - OUT

Scouting Report:
Big Picture
Just five days ago, the Suns dispatched the Wolves 108-98 in the midst of their current five-game road trip. The conclusion of the last jaunt away from Phoenix was not as successful with the squad dropping its last two games by a combined 37 points to New Orleans and Dallas. Of course, the lingering health issues for former two-time MVP Steve Nash hindered the Suns playoff aspirations and now the franchise faces a potential rebuilding effort after failing to register at least 41 wins since the 2003-04 season. Phoenix will finish its 2010-11 campaign at home with tonight’s contest against Minnesota and San Antonio for the finale on Wednesday.

Last Time Out
The Suns allowed 36 points in the first quarter and 35 in the fourth, leading to a 115-90 defeat in Dallas on Friday night.

Ty Lawson was scorching hot on Saturday and led Denver to a 130-106 victory past the Wolves. Missing Kevin Love and Darko Milicic, Minnesota dropped to 17-63 on the season.

The Numbers Game
Over his last five games, Martell Webster is averaging 15.6 points per game in 28.2 minutes of the bench.

Match-up to Watch
Wolves Bench vs. Suns Bench
In the previous meeting, Phoenix relied on its bench unit to help counter the lack of productions from the starters. Aaron Brooks, Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress, and Vince Carter combined for 58 of the Suns 108 points while helping to close out the fourth quarter with Nash and Grant Hill out of the lineup. On Saturday night, all five of the Wolves bench players scored in double figures, including 15 points from Webster, who continues to provide solid contributions during the last two weeks.

What to Look For
Love (groin) and Milicic (ankle) are not expected to appear in tonight’s game despite traveling with the team on the final road trip of the season. The major issue for the Wolves without their leading scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker is the lack of a defensive presence inside the paint. Over the last two contests, Minnesota has allowed an alarming amount of points in the paint, 56 to Phoenix and 52 to the Nuggets on Saturday. Yes, Lawson dropped 10 3-pointers and the perimeter defense was suspect against Denver but protecting the painted area should be the primary focus tonight. Marcin Gortat scored 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting at the center spot in the last matchup against Minnesota. Along with Gortat, the Suns scored too many easy buckets near the rim and the Wolves frontline must challenge shots to keep the points in the paint low in order to snap a 13-game losing skid.
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