Tim's Game Preview: Game 79, Phoenix Suns


The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to give their fans "More".

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-61) vs. Phoenix Suns (37-40) at Target Center

In early March, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced their new season ticket campaign, "More", which comes on the heels of last year's highly successful "Run with the Pack" campaign.

As Wolves' President Chris Wright explained, "We believe that the 'more' we give our fans through great pricing, customer service and on-court excitement, the more that they will want to join our pack, creating a great home-court advantage inside Target Center. Despite our record, this season has provided some very exciting times on-court with Kevin Love's All-Star season, the emergence of Michael Beasley and the development of our young core of players. We believe that we are on the right track in terms of creating more excitement for our fans at Target Center."

I couldn't have said it better myself, Chris. But why start with next season? The Wolves can start giving their fans 'more' tonight against the Phoenix Suns.

Let's break down the matchups:


"More physical play."

Nikola Pekovic vs. Marcin Gortat

"You want to call foul? Pek show you foul."

With Darko Milicic still bothered by an injured ankle, Nikola Pekovic is likely to get the start once again and will go up against "The Polish Hammer" Marcin Gortat.  Gortat, who was part of the Vince Carter-Jason Richardson trade, has looked like a steal for the Suns. Not having to languish behind Dwight Howard any longer, Gortat appears to be a dependable, starting-caliber center. That is if he can survive the night against Nikola Pekovic.

If I were an opposing GM/coach, I would sign a center to a 10-day contract just to play against Pek, in order to avoid my starting center suffering an injury.

Winner: Nikola Pekovic



"More flopping." 

Michael Beasley vs. Channing Frye

Michael Beasley is a notorious flopper. Take the last Lakers game, for example. Andrew Bynum delivered what Kurt Rambis described as, "a good basketball play", but Michael Beasley flopped and got the foul call. It probably shouldn't have even been a foul, but the refs bought the flop and actually ejected Bynum from the game on a flagrant foul 2.

Channing Frye is also a notorious flopper. In a game against the Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett put his hand up on defense, and Frye reacted as if he had been hit in the "no fly zone". Garnett clearly was just playing passionate defense.

So, when its flopper vs. flopper, I think you give it to the guy with the better haircut.  

Winner: Michael Beasley



"More defense."

Wesley Johnson vs. Grant Hill

I hope Wesley Johnson destroys Grant Hill on the basketball court tonight. That being said, in all seriousness, Hill is one of the best ambassadors this sport has ever seen and I would hope that no fan in Minnesota would stoop to spitting on him. What a disgrace. Even spitting on Vince Carter would be in poor taste, but spitting on Grant Hill? Really? There wasn't a member of the clergy or a group of Boy Scouts to go spit on instead?

C'mon, man...

Winner: Wesley Johnson 



"More (ncaa) championships"

Wayne Ellington vs. Jared Dudley

Rashad McCants. Corey Brewer. Wayne Ellington. The Wolves have developed a trend of acquiring guards with championship pedigrees. You know what that means? Welcome aboard, Nolan Smith and Kemba Walker. I hope you like it cold in the winters.

As long as we can't win NBA championships, we might as well have a few other championships to hang our hats on. We also have Ricky Rubio's FIBA Under-16 Championship. Plus, Jonny Flynn is about to become the mayor of the Richfield GameStop on foursquare. There are exciting accomplishments all around for the Timberwolves.

Winner: Wayne Ellington



"More pull-up jumpers on the fast break"

Luke Ridnour vs. Steve Nash

Some people think that the Minnesota Timberwolves run the triangle offense. Some people think we run a version of the triangle that is a bit different from the Zen Master's version or Tex Winter's version. Still others think that we run some triangle and some other different offensive schemes.

Luke Ridnour thinks that we run the Seven Seconds or Less offense.

It's the best explanation for why Luke Ridnour continually takes so many quick shots, especially on fast breaks. Tonight, he'll come up against the main component of the real SSOL offense, Steve Nash. They should play their own little game to see if A) They can play the entire game without crossing a three-point line on either side and B) They can take the most ill-advised jumpers early in the shot clock.

That's pretty much what they do now, only in different cities.

Winner: Steve Nash



"More player development."

My Prediction: Timberwolves 115 - Phoenix Suns 110

Timberwolves' Record: 18-61

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