The Phoenix Suns (11-12) are well-rested, re-energized and will have Robin Lopez back in the lineup tonight when they face the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves (6-19). The Timberwolves have an interesting team this year with the addition of Michael Beasley and Darko Milicic, who are playing well for Kurt Rambis after struggling with other teams. And, of course, the big attraction is the league's leading rebounder, Kevin Love, who plays an old-school type of game.
The Wolves are coming off a 108-99 loss in Golden State last night where they allowed Monta Ellis and Reggie Williams to combine for 60 points.
"Our team needs to learn that if they don't play hard every night, we are not going to win," Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said. "We did not give a maximum effort. We gave them too many second chance opportunities and turned the ball over too many times."
The Minnesota back court is shaky, at best, but even moreso with a banged up Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn. This should be a good game for the Suns' Jason Richardson to re-assert himself after three straight poor shooting performances.
Steve Nash will also be looking to regain his shooting form, which he seems to have lost since suffering a groin injury earlier in the season. He's worked with his personal strength and conditioning coach over the past few days and hopes to be on the mend.
"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.
The injury has impacted his balance and rhythm, both of which have been frustrating for him. He didn't sound positive that he's fixed everything yet, but is just focused on being efficient and effective elsewhere on the floor even if his long-range shot isn't falling.
Phoenix, which is 6-5 overall at home, hasn't lost three in a row at US Airways Center since Jan. 16-31, 2009. The Suns have won five straight over Minnesota by an average of 18.0 points and have won seven of the past eight meetings in the series held in Phoenix.
The game tips at 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and 620 KTAR radio. Fans can follow along with the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.