The Phoenix Suns are ready to get back on the horse known as the 2011-12 NBA Season. The first half didn't go so well, leaving them six games under .500 and four-places behind the last playoff spot. It's certainly possible that the team can make a run but to do that they will need to rebound better, turn the ball over less and most importantly, play with a consistent level of desperation that's been missing in the first 34 games.
The stretch run home starts Thursday night against the much-improved Minnesota Timberwolves(18-18). The game is our first look at Ricky Rubio in and NBA uniform and marks the return of Arizona star Derrick Williams to Arizona as a pro.
In a recent interview, Nash praised Rubio for playing the game like a kid and having great energy and enthusiasm.
The schedule was kind to Phoenix, giving the Suns an extra two days off since the end of the All-Star break while the Timberwolves will be playing their third game in three nights. They split a trip to Los Angeles with a win over the Clippers on the first night and a loss to the Lakers on the second.
- Point guard: Steve Nash --- Ricky Rubio
- Shooting guard: Jared Dudley -- Luke Ridnour
- Small forward: Grant Hill -- Wesley Johnson
- Power forward: Channing Frye -- Kevin Love (?)
- Center: Marcin Gortat -- Nikola Pekovic
- Key subs: Suns (Markieff Morris, Michael Redd, Ronnie Price, Robin Lopez). Warriors (Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, J.J. Barea, Martell Webster, Darko Milicic)
TV broadcast info:
The Suns game tips off at 7:00 p.m. Arizona time on Fox Sports Arizona. Arizona Sports 620 radio. Bright Side of the Sun will have the live game thread.
Suns vs. Timberwolves Game Preview: Recess is Over - Bright Side Of The Sun
Love and Ricky Rubio are the emerging players featured by the Wolves who have been most responsible for the team's improvement from league doormat to team in the playoff hunt, but second year Montenegrin center Nikola Pekovic has been a revelation for the Wolves as well. He's started the last 13 games, averaging a double-double and pushing former Pistons draft bust Darko Milicic further into irrelevancy. The Gortat-Pekovic matchup isn't as glamorous as the Nash-Rubio matchup, but will be about as important to the outcome of the game.