Apr 19, 2024 - News

Suns favored in first-round playoff series against Minnesota

A basketball player drives for a layup against a defender.

Devin Booker passes the ball against the T-Wolves' Rudy Gobert on Sunday. Photo: David Berding/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns have momentum on their side as they head into the NBA playoffs hoping to validate the big expectations they started the season with.

The big picture: The Suns' quest for their first championship starts Saturday at 12:30pm in Minneapolis, where they face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

State of play: The team is healthy, including its big three of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

  • After starting the season with high hopes and a revamped roster, the Suns were plagued by injuries and struggled to keep up in a stacked Western Conference early on.
  • But things picked up midway through the season, and the Suns ended the season on a high note, going 7-3 in a brutal 10-game closing stretch against other playoff teams.

Zoom in: The Timberwolves have been dominant on defense all season, allowing an NBA-best 106.5 points per game.

  • Minnesota's defense is anchored by big men Karl-Anthony Towns and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

Between the lines: Phoenix is 3-0 against the Timberwolves this year, including a win last Sunday to end the regular season.

What's next: Whoever wins the Suns-Timberwolves matchup will face the winner of the first-round series between the defending champion Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Flashback: Since falling short in the NBA Finals in 2021, the Suns have struggled in the playoffs and the last two seasons ended in gut-wrenching fashion.

  • In 2022, the underdog Dallas Mavericks obliterated the Suns in Game 7 of the second round.
  • The Nuggets routed Phoenix in Game 6 of the second round last year on the way to their first championship in franchise history.
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