Tim's Game Preview: Game 81, Phoenix Suns


Today's message is brought to you by The Positivity Police.

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-63) vs. Phoenix Suns (38-42) at US Airways Center

If the saying, "There are no problems, only opportunities," is correct, then the Timberwolves have had a season full of opportunities.

For instance, "the Wolves are in the lottery again" translates to "which Timberwolves' rookie do you think will win the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year award?"

"Jonny Flynn is the worst player in the NBA!" translates to "another Most Improved Player candidate for next year."

"We lost by 10 to the Phoenix Suns," translates into "Revenge will be that much sweeter tonight."

Try it sometime. I'm sure you'll have plenty of opportunities during tonight's game. The Timberwolves play their final road game of the season tonight in Phoenix, a team they just played last Wednesday at Target Center. Without Kevin Love in the lineup, and both Love and Darko will be out again for tonight's game, Marcin Gortat dominated the middle with 20 points and 16 rebounds. The Suns' bench also had 58 of Phoenix' 108 points.

Let's break down the matchups:


I'm pretty sure the Polish Hammer's hammer is not Polish in this picture. Disappointing.

Nikola Pekovic vs. Marcin Gortat

Problem: Our center position has been underwhelming this season. Darko has been hurt a lot and has been terrible on offense when he has played. Pek has a high foul rate and does not seem to be a great defender.

Opportunity for Darko: If Darko goes to the trainer one more time this season, he gets his next visit free.

Opportunity for Pek: If Glen Taylor ever wants to sponsor an MMA fighter, he already employs one.

Opportunity for David Kahn: Remember when we used to make fun of Kosta Koufos? He ended up being the most successful out of every center we had over the past two seasons. So, who knows what could happen for Darko and Pek next season?

Winner: Nikola Pekovic



Channing Frye getting his fake hustle on with the fake hustle master, Kevin Garnett.

Anthony Tolliver vs. Channing Frye

Problem: While he plays hard and has had good moment, Anthony Tolliver is really a rotation player and is not good enough to play major minutes on an above-average team.

Opportunity for Anthony Tolliver: Once Kevin Love leaves via free agency, Anthony Tolliver will have an opportunity to prove the above sentence wrong.

Opportunity for Anthony Randolph: Since even scoring 30 points against the Mavericks and an injury to Kevin Love was not good enough to secure you major minutes or a starting spot, you now have an opportunity to use that expensive camera you bought to take compromising photos of Kurt Rambis. Start with pictures of Rambis during a time out.

Opportunity for Kevin Love: Is "rehabbing a groin injury" a euphemism?

Winner: Anthony Tolliver



Do you think Grant Hill was secretely happy about Jalen Rose's DUI arrest?

Michael Beasley vs. Grant Hill

Problem: Michael Beasley is too inconsistent and too inefficient to be a reliable scorer for the Wolves.

Opportunity for Be Easy: You need to hope that MVP voters failed to watch any Bulls' games, and only looked at Excel spreadsheets to determine that LeBron or Dwight Howard should be MVP this season, so Derrick Rose does not get the award and people aren't reminded that there was serious debate about which of you to take first.

Opportunity for Lazar Hayward: Remind yourself that Lasers are supposed to be accurate. If you keep using that nickname and shooting like this, there may be a drop in laser eye surgery and other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Opportunity for Martell Webster: Take out a full page ad in the Star Tribune with the '10-'11 stats of Luke Babbitt.

Winner: Michael Beasley



You know I'm friends with Bill Simmons, right?

Wesley Johnson vs. Jared Dudley

Problem: Wesley Johnson has been underwhelming as a rookie. Some people have already written him off as a player who will struggle to make a rotation, despite being his first season at a new position in a strange offense.

Opportunity for Worldwide Wes: Stage a big "fight" with Jonny Flynn where local media members can see it. Maybe in the locker room, you could say, "Jonny, next time, throw the passes to me, not the fans sitting courtside." Maybe, during one of your movie outings, you could say, "I've never liked Martin, okay. I only saw them for you!" and storm off.

However you want to do it, by pretending that you're not friends with Jonny anymore, Wolves' fans will appreciate your tough demeanor and may even start thinking of you as a Cyclone, not an Orangeman. You have no idea what kind of street cred that will give you here. And by street cred, I mean Target Center hallway cred.

Opportunity for Wayne Ellington: Do they hand out rings for winning an NCAA National Championship? If so, wear it everyday, even during games. If not, have one made and wear it everyday, even during games. It will inspire the rest of the team, just like Corey Brewer's did when he wore it and just like Phil Jackson's did when Kurt Rambis sat next to him.

Winner: Wesley Johnson



After every assist he makes, Steve Nash steals the game ball. 

Luke Ridnour vs. Steve  Nash

Problem: Luke Ridnour is a backup point guard playing starter's minutes. Ridnour isn't great at running the fast break and can shoot a little too quickly in certain situations.

Opportunity for Luke Ridnour: Invest in a Spanish-to-English dictionary and a Travel Guide of Spain.

Opportunity for Jonny Flynn: All of those extra change-of-address forms that you got from the post office when you were drafted, but never used, will not go to waste after all.

Opportunity for Sebastian Telfair: Just think of how much money you could get at autograph shows as "The Guy Standing Next to LeBron on that Sports Illustrated cover".

Winner: Steve Nash



How many points will the Suns lose by today, Coach Gentry? Four seems a little low, but thanks anyway.

My Prediction: Timberwolves 132 - Phoenix Suns 111

Timberwolves' Record: 18-63

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