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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, March 16th (All times eastern)

Minnesota Timberwolves (14-53) at Phoenix Suns (41-26), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The playoffs are likely a foregone conclusion for the Phoenix Suns, who resume a season-long seven-game homestand tonight against the Western Conference's worst team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Suns improved to 2-2 on their latest residency on Sunday when Amare Stoudemire scored 36 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and sank all 14 of his free throw attempts, as Phoenix ran past the New Orleans Hornets, 120-106.

Jason Richardson had 20 points, while Steve Nash tallied 13 points and 12 assists as the Suns won for the ninth time in 12 contests and moved a half- game ahead of San Antonio, into sixth place in the West.

More importantly, Phoenix is six games clear of ninth place Houston with 15 games to play and only a monumental collapse would keep the team from postseason action.

Jared Dudley also scored 13 points and Robin Lopez had 10 against the Hornets.

"We definitely wanted to set the tone early," Stoudemire said. "It was a very important game for us and we came out with the intensity from the start and we've just got to keep the momentum going and keep improving as a unit."

The hapless Wolves, meanwhile, dropped their ninth straight game in Sacramento on Sunday when Tyreke Evans came just shy of a triple double, finishing with 29 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, as the Kings routed Minnesota, 114-100.

Al Jefferson scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the dismal Timberwolves, who have lost 15 of 16 overall. Wayne Ellington came off the bench to add 15 points, while Ryan Gomes contributed 14 points in defeat.

"Those guys made a lot of good shots. They're a different team at home than versus being away. Tyreke Evans put together one of those great games and showed why he is a great player," Timberwolves center Ryan Hollins said.

Phoenix has won three straight over the Wolves, including a 120-112 win in the desert earlier this season.

03/16 10:48:39 ET

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