Suns 128, Timberwolves 122 Seems like it was just last year Robin Lopez was returning from an injury against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Oh wait, it was just last year. November 29 of last year to be...

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help. please. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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Something evidently called a blizzard happened in Minnesota over the weekend. I guess it's a cold weather thing which desert rats like me don't quite understand. However I am fairly certain the Minnesota Timberwolves are overjoyed to come out West and play basketball to escape this raining snow situation. But will 80 degrees be too hot for them? I'm guessing the climate will favor the Suns in this one. Of course I've been wrong before.

Tonight the Suns face the number one rebounding team in the league. The good news is Robin Lopez is slated to start. Of course, this is bad news for those of you who already purchased your Earl Barron jerseys. Don't worry, he may still get some time off the pine before he's jetisoned back to the D-Leagues or wherever his next destination will be. Plus, you'll have an excellent Suns obscurity to break out when entertaining friends and family.

Aside from the obvious questions such as how ready is Robin, how effective can he be after the injury and layoff, The Suns have some other pressing questions:

  • Whose the odd man out in the rotation?: Who out of the logjam of 3's gets the short end of the stick.? While J-Chill and Dudz are better defenders than Hedo, Turk has attributes that neither of the other two have. Namely some alleged playmaking ability and some serious 4th quarter stones.
  • What about Hakim? Will WarMachine's defensive liabilities continue to limit his court time?
  • Has a few days off and a few days of practice put Jason Richardson in the right frame of mind to get hot again? Rich put up 7 straight games of 20+ points and at least 7 field goals made in a Suns 5-2 stretch. And we all know the Suns are 189-2 when rich plays good and all that.

The Timberwolves present some obvious front court challenges for the Suns. Kevin Love is the second coming of Rodman (in the rebounding sense), only with less piercings, tats, and strange phone calls into radio stations for no apparant reason other than to flaunt the fact he had a hooker with him. Darko's a load to deal with and is coming off of a 25 and 11 game. Michael Beasley is bringing 21 points per game, good for second in the league among forwards. 

 

FG3PTFTReboundsMisc
GMMAPctMAPctMAPctOffDefTotAstTOStlBlkPFPPG
Michael Beasley 23 33.3 8.7 18.3 47.2 0.8 2.2 38.0 3.0 4.4 69.3 1.7 4.3 6.1 1.5 2.8 0.8 0.8 3.7 21.2
Kevin Love 25 35.1 6.8 15.4 44.5 1.3 3.1 41.0 5.3 6.0 88.0 4.8 10.8 15.6 2.2 2.4 0.5 0.5 2.1 20.2
Martell Webster 1 26.0 6.0 8.0 75.0 2.0 2.0 100.0 3.0 5.0 60.0 0.0 5.0 5.0 2.0 5.0 1.0 0.0 3.0 17.0
Luke Ridnour 20 28.5 3.9 8.4 46.1 1.1 2.5 44.0 1.8 2.0 90.0 0.5 2.1 2.6 5.0 2.0 1.2 0.2 1.9 10.6
Darko Milicic 24 26.5 4.2 9.6 43.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3 2.1 62.7 2.3 3.9 6.1 2.0 2.3 0.5 2.7 3.3 9.8
Corey Brewer 25 24.9 3.1 8.6 35.8 0.6 1.9 29.2 2.4 3.3 74.4 0.8 2.2 3.0 1.6 1.3 1.8 0.2 2.6 9.2
Wesley Johnson 25 28.4 3.4 8.0 43.2 1.2 3.3 36.6 0.8 1.3 63.6 1.0 2.4 3.4 1.9 1.5 0.4 0.6 2.8 8.9
Sebastian Telfair 24 21.7 2.8 6.5 42.7 0.8 2.0 38.3 1.3 1.8 72.7 0.3 1.0 1.3 3.6 2.0 0.7 0.1 1.8 7.7
Wayne Ellington 19 18.5 2.6 6.3 42.0 0.9 2.1 42.5 0.4 0.7 61.5 0.2 1.3 1.5 0.8 0.9 0.6 0.0 1.5 6.6
Anthony Tolliver 19 18.7 1.9 4.3 45.1 0.7 1.7 43.8 1.7 2.2 78.6 1.2 2.9 4.1 1.3 0.9 0.4 0.5 2.1 6.4
Nikola Pekovic 16 13.8 2.2 4.6 47.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3 1.9 70.0 1.8 1.4 3.2 0.3 1.6 0.1 0.7 3.0 5.7
Jonny Flynn 1 16.0 1.0 2.0 50.0 1.0 2.0 50.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 4.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.0
Sundiata Gaines 7 9.1 1.0 3.1 31.8 0.3 0.9 33.3 0.7 1.1 62.5 0.1 0.7 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.4 0.0 0.6 3.0
Kosta Koufos 20 7.0 1.0 2.3 44.4 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.4 0.5 70.0 0.8 0.9 1.7 0.1 0.6 0.2 0.3 1.2 2.4
Lazar Hayward 15 7.5 0.5 2.3 20.0 0.3 1.1 23.5 0.5 0.7 80.0 0.7 0.8 1.5 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.2 1.0 1.7

 



I'd love to break out some highly technical analysis on this one, but we all know what has to happen for the Suns to win: body up the T-Wolve bigs, hit some shots, and play with some heart. And for the heck of it, check this quote out:

"Our team needs to learn that if they don't play hard every night, we are not going to win...We did not give a maximum effort. We gave them too many second chance opportunities and turned the ball over too many times."

Sound familiar? Well that was T-Wolves Coach Kurt Rambis. Of course it could have been Alvin Gentry, or virtually anyone in the league.

Numbers are Fun:

  • The Wolves have dropped 25 of 26 games on the road, dating back to last season
  • The Suns have won five straight over Minnesota by an average of 18 points and have won seven of the past eight meetings in in Phoenix.
  • The Suns haven't lost 3 in a row at US Airways Center since Jan. 16-31, 2009

Game Day Links:

AZCentral: Lopez to Start:

Asked how the 255-pound 7-footer has looked in the final stages of his comeback, Frye grinned and said: "Great. That boy is crazy. He's everywhere. I forgot how big and long and active he is. "I think that's the biggest thing. He helps us in practice rebounding, and him and Garret (Siler, 6-11, 305) just go at it, it's like Godzilla and King Kong down there."

MN Star Tribune:
Beasley's all dressed up but has a long way to go:

The Wolves' new go-to scorer wears a headband, dreadlocks, tattoos that make his entire body look like a Ren & Stimpy cartoon, pads on his right elbow, ribs and tailbone, and white sleeves with shin pads on both calves. 

Timberwolves vs Suns coverage

Timberwolves vs Suns preview

Canis Hoopus

 

[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/15/10 4:33 PM MST ]

Nash has been using this time off to try and get his body right:

Phoenix Suns Schedule Kindly Delivers The Minnesota Timberwolves - SB Nation Arizona
"Since I got hurt, I've been shooting like 20 percent from three, so it's been really difficult for me. Hopefully, if I get healthy again, I can obviously shoot it better," Nash said about his 2-for-10 three-point shooting so far in the month of December.

And more on the Grant Hill is Awesome story

Steve Nash Agrees, Grant Hill Having His Best Season As A Phoenix Sun - SB Nation Arizona
The case for Grant Hill to be in the NBA All-Star consideration goes beyond the numbers. His coach and MVP teammate Steve Nash are, not surprisingly, two of his biggest supporters, but that doesn't mean either is just blindly blowing smoke when it comes to Grant's play. These are the guys that go to battle each game with Grant and understand better than anyone how well he's playing.


The case for Grant Hill, All-Star

The numbers show him to be the 3rd best SF in the West.


Preface: This is a complete editorial piece. It contains no new information from inside sources and provides no statistical analysis. After reading this editorial, you could argue that its a fanpost and shouldn't start out on the front page, but I exercise my right to disagree and post it here anyway. Appeal to the supreme overlord (Seth) if you want.

Rosterbation: /def/ the act of dreaming up transactions to alter the roster of your favorite, underachieving sports team

(apologies in advance to our young readers. You know that rosterbation is a play on words, so please continue reading at your own peril.)

Rosterbation is a potentially devastating problem. Some say if you rosterbate too much you'll go blind. Others say it can stunt your growth. Frankly, whenever I rosterbate I'm just left with an empty feeling. Sure, there's a moment of elation as I hit the 'post' button, but that only lasts a moment. Talking about it afterward is pretty uncomfortable cuz everyone's got their own opinion on "how" I should have done it, often going to the extreme of "showing" me a better way.

Frankly, all manner of rosterbation ends the same way (with an empty feeling) and you've got nothing to show for it besides a moment of self-aggrandized glory (some call it an epiphany).

Now that New Jersey has broken the seal this week on a trade that included real talent for nothing in return - second-year swingman Terrence Williams and grizzled vet Joe Smith for low draft picks - I assume a flood of rosterbation is going to explode all over our BSotS page.

Alvin Gentry is feeding the flames with repeated comments that the current rotation is unworkable - that the only way to settle on a good, predictable rotation of players is to remove 1 or more from the equation.

Dragic needs more minutes to be most effective, as do Jason Richardson and Grant Hill. Turkoglu too. Josh Childress or Jared Dudley figure to be the odd men out, and that's really a sad proposition. These guys are too talented to ride the pine for an extended period.

Frankly, the Suns need to make a move. They need to trade 2 wings for a PF.

This may be a surprise to you, but the front office knows this. Of course they know it. There's no way they DON'T know this.

One problem is, so does the rest of the league.

Another problem is, talented starting-quality Power Forwards are not generally available ever and certainly aren't traded by their team in December.

A team with a starting-quality big man who is out of their current rotation is not going to trade him right now. Not when its 2 months before the trade deadline and no one has made their best offer yet. Put yourself in their shoes: Why make a reasonable trade now that's good for both teams when you can possibly make a lop-sided trade with a desperate team later and come out on top?

And then there's teams with starting-caliber PFs getting big minutes, but their team is going nowhere. Those aren't getting traded yet either. For the same reason you're holding out hope for the Suns season, so are the other 29 teams in the league. It's too early to jettison a quality big man for salary relief and/or draft picks.

In summation, I fully expect the rosterbation to continue. Everyone needs a vice, you know?

But I caution against actually expecting a real trade to materialize in the next 30-45 days. Not a good one, anyway.

 

Postscript: Maybe this does belong as a fanpost after all...




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