Wolves (7-27) vs Suns (21-11)
FS North / WCCO Radio
Following a disappointing loss to Washington, the Wolves will try their luck with Devin Booker and friends tonight. To put it mildly, common sense would tell you that Lady Luck will not be on their side, but this team and franchise has never operated with much common sense anyways, so who knows.
The most exciting part of this matchup is likely to be just enjoying how good Phoenix is. The way that they’ve parlayed their success in the Orlando Bubble into this season has been one of my favorite storylines this season. In essence, they are proof of the good that adding the play-in tournament can do for the league. They were incentivized not to tank, went on a mini-run in chase of the playoffs, played well enough to attract a star in Chris Paul, and now are a legitimate Conference Finals threat. That is exactly how you want the new system to work for young teams.
Make no mistake, Phoenix is a legit contender to make the WCF. They’re strong defensively (6th in DRTG), and have two fantastic shot creators in the half-court (8th in ORTG). They have the ingredients you’re looking for for a true contender, and they’ve played up to that standard thus far. I’d argue they’ve made it clear they’re the fourth-best team in the West.
On the Wolves side of things, they are clearly not that level of a team, and their woes are only multiplied by the absences of the two best shooters on the roster, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley.
Enjoying these games will require some creativity, but it will be about the little things, like enjoying Josh Okogie’s defense or Jaden McDaniels’ long limbs or Anthony Edwards’ ferocious dunks or Karl-Anthony Towns’ general awesomeness. These nights won’t manifest many wins, but we must hold out for these little things if we’re going to get some joy out of this, we must appreciate those littler, individual things.
I hope everyone’s had a delightful Sunday, and hopefully the Wolves won’t add to the Sunday Scaries any more than we already expect them to.