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NBA playoffs: Timberwolves vs. Suns

Best-of-seven, Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 1: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Target Center (ESPN)

Game 2: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday., Target Center (TNT)

Game 3: 9:30 p.m. Friday, Phoenix (ESPN)

Game 4: 8:30 p.m. April 28, Phoenix (TNT)

Game 5: time TBA April 30, Target Center (if necessary)

Game 6: time TBA May 2, Phoenix (if necessary)

Game 7: time TBA May 4, Target Center (if necessary)


56-26, third in the Western Conference and a game behind top-seed Oklahoma City and second-seeded Denver. They went from contending for the No. 1 seed on the season's final day to third and a 3-6 matchup with Phoenix after losing 125-106 to the Suns at home in the finale.

NBA ratings: offense 15th (116.6), defense 1st (109.9), net rating 3 (6.65)

Key number

5: Despite finishing with the third seed, the Wolves led the league in advanced defensive rating for 155 days — or all but five days this season.


They won their last three games, six of their last eight and 10 of their last 14 to finish 49-33 and in sixth place in the West. Their victory Sunday at Target Center combined with New Orleans' home loss to the Lakers moved the Suns past the Pelicans, setting up this 3-6 rematch of Sunday's game.

NBA ratings: offense, 8th (118.8), defense 13th (115.7), net rating 8th (3.09)

Key number

10-1: Suns' record when veteran reserve guard Eric Gordon scores 20 or more points off the bench.


Point guard

Mike Conley, Wolves: Young, explosive Anthony Edwards shares the ball-handling duties, but Conley at 36 now becomes the steadying veteran hand who has played 78 playoff games with the Wolves, Utah and Memphis. His teams are 37-41 in those games, and he has averaged 15.8 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Coach Chris Finch wants him to be more aggressive offensively now that it's playoff time. But he also can be a defensive mismatch.

Bradley Beal, Suns: He might not be a natural point guard, but he's playing one. On Sunday, he went 6-for-6 on threes, 14-for-21 overall, had six rebounds, five assists, two steals, one turnover and his defense held Anthony Edwards to 13 points. Suns coach Frank Vogel calls him "One of the best players in the world." Think of him as an older, more mature Ant.

Edge: Suns

Shooting guard

Anthony Edwards, Wolves: Only LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson have reached 2,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a regular season at a younger age than Edwards did in 2023-24 (James did so three times). Finch has praised Edwards' improved willingness to move the ball more, but the playoffs' pressure will be the ultimate test. Beal's defense limited him on Sunday, but he gets the edge here because of his on-ball defense.

Devin Booker, Suns: Once the Suns' star, Booker now is almost a third option alongside Durant and Beal. But what an option: He's averaging 27.1 points and shooting 36.3% from three. He's also a three-time All-Star and 2022 All-NBA first-teamer, the Suns' first since Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire in 2007.

Edge: Wolves

Small forward

Jaden McDaniels, Wolves: Signed last fall to a five-year, $136 million extension for his length and defense, but the Wolves will need his offense — namely his three-point shooting — in this series. He shot 2-for-7 with one three-pointer Sunday, scoring six points.

Grayson Allen, Suns: He's important enough the Suns on Tuesday signed him to a four-year, $70 million contract extension. The former Dukie and sixth-year pro shooter with his fourth team leads the league in three-point percentage (46.1). He could be the Suns' X-factor while the Wolves focus elsewhere. He has tied the Suns' record for most threes in a season by making nine in a game three times this year. Don't leave him alone, which is a tall task with the Suns' top three scorers.

Edge: Suns

Power forward

Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves: He has started and played 27 and 29 minutes in his return after 18 games away healing from knee surgery, with mixed results. He has made a couple of clutch threes, but was what Finch called "super rusty." The jury is out on whether the ball moves as well with him as it does without. Does Finch keep him as a starter seeking to find his groove again or bring him off the bench behind Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Naz Reid, depending how big or small the Suns go?

Kevin Durant, Suns: Still in his prime averaging 27.3 ppg in his 16th NBA season, he passed Shaquille O'Neal in March for eighth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list, with No. 7 Wilt Chamberlain in sight. He has made the playoffs 13 times now and is 101-65 in 32 playoff series, averaging 29.4 ppg. He has also reached the NBA Finals four times now, winning twice with Golden State in 2017 and '18.

Edge: Suns


Rudy Gobert, Wolves: He's the leader in the clubhouse for his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award and has been dominant and the anchor of the NBA's highest-ranked defense for most of the season. Finch says some players win games, others keep you from losing: "Rudy is why we don't lose." The Clippers took him out of a 2021 playoff series by stretching the floor. Can the Suns do the same?

Jusuf Nurkic, Suns: He's a big body — 7-1, 290 pounds — the Suns can use to effectively slow down Gobert; the Wolves will seek to get him out of the game with foul trouble. When Nurkic picked up his fourth foul soon after halftime on Sunday, Gobert asserted himself and scored 15 points in the third quarter alone.

Edge: Wolves


Whether Towns stays in his starting spot or Alexander-Walker or Reid return to it after Towns missed 18 game is a big question. Towns provides skill offensively, Alexander-Walker helps if the Suns go small. Reid offers muscle, grit and he's a 41.4% three-point shooter to Towns' 41.8%. The Wolves need him and Alexander-Walker to make threes and produce big.


A 16-year NBA veteran averaging 11.0 ppg in 27 minutes off the bench, Eric Gordon is one of 13 new faces added to a remade Phoenix roster this season. Former Wolves first-round draft pick Josh Okogie averages 16.2 minutes and 4.6 points coming off the bench..

Edge: Wolves

Star Tribune prediction

They say it's difficult to beat the same team three times in a season. What about a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh? The sixth-seeded Suns' Big Three — KD, Booker and Beal — are peaking, and this might be the last team you want to face right now in the West. Such is the Wolves' luck after such a breakout season. Suns in six