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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 23rd (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (40-29) at Minnesota Timberwolves (34-33), 3:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns are doing their best to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot and will open a three-game road trip Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Suns are a game off the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will also visit Atlanta and Washington. They have a 16-16 record away from home and are 2-4 in the last six games as the visitor.
Phoenix has won two straight overall and four of five games, including Friday's 98-92 triumph over Detroit, as Eric Bledsoe scored 23 points and Goran Dragic added 20 in the win. Markieff Morris ended with 16 points off the bench and P.J. Tucker posted 13 for the Suns.
"We did a nice job at the end of really scrapping, making tough shots, and then we got the boards at the key times," said Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek.
The Suns forced Detroit into making 19 turnovers, scoring 15 points, and made 45 percent of their shots. They lost the rebounding battle, 53-39.
Minnesota's chances of making a playoff run are dwindling. It is six games off the final postseason berth in the West with 15 games remaining.
The Timberwolves have actually played well in recent weeks, but fell into the loss column with Thursday's 129-106 decision at the hands of the talented Houston Rockets. James Harden had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Rockets, who played without Dwight Howard (ankle) and used a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Kevin Love totaled a game-high 29 points to go along with six boards and five assists for the Timberwolves. Gorgui Dieng set career highs with 22 points and 21 rebounds
"Some of us just didn't have it and that's the way it goes sometimes," said Love, who is averaging 29.9 points and 12.1 rebounds in the last 19 games. "These are the dog days of the season right here, trying to give everything you got. Sometimes that's just not good enough."
Kevin Martin (6), Ricky Rubio (5) and Jose Barea (4) struggled to find a rhythm. The T'Wolves are still 10-5 in the last 15 games.
Minnesota will shoot for its third straight win at home and has prevailed in five of the past seven contests at the Target Center. It is 19-13 overall as the host this season and will visit Memphis on Monday.
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) has missed the last three games and is questionable Sunday versus the Suns. He is averaging 17.7 points and 9.0 rebounds this season.
The Wolves and Suns have split two meetings this season. Phoenix is 12-5 in the last 17 matchups in this series and has won seven of its last nine trips to the Twin Cities.
03/23 10:33:17 ET
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