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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 9th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Suns (29-27) at Minnesota Timberwolves (25-32), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The playoff-hopeful Phoenix Suns will kick off a tough four-game road trip on Monday against the fading Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Suns, who will also visit Memphis, Houston and San Antonio on the trek, have won four of five and are just a game behind Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix's lone loss in that stretch, however, came at the Nuggets last Friday.

The Suns managed to rebound from that setback a day later when Shannon Brown had 24 points against his former team as Phoenix took down the Kobe Bryant- less Lakers, 125-105.

Michael Redd added 23 points for the Suns, who made 14 three-pointers and set a franchise record for the fewest turnovers in a game with three.

Marcin Gortat ended with 14 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix, which got 13 points apiece from Sebastian Telfair, Markieff Morris and Steve Nash.

"It was good. We took care of the ball tonight and we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities to shoot the ball at the basket," Nash said. "And we're a good shooting team, so usually if we get a lot of shots we're going to make enough."

The Suns were near the bottom of the West on Feb. 18 but have gone 17-8 since to creep back into the postseason conversation.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have been fading fast and are 5 1/2 games behind Denver with just nine games left on their schedule. Minnesota lost its season- high fifth in a row in New Orleans on Saturday, falling to the Hornets, 99-90.

Kevin Love ended with 29 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while Michael Beasley returned from a five-game absence due to a toe injury to tally 20 points.

"They seemed to really hit everything tonight," Love said of the Hornets. "It seems that teams keep shooting a good percentage on us, but we brought it on the defensive end, for the most part. We just missed shots. It's tough. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but they just blew it out at the end."

The turning point of Minnesota's season came back on March 9 when it lost dynamic rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL in a loss to the Lakers. The Wolves are a dismal 4-12 since then.

One of those wins, however, was in the desert as the Wolves snapped a nine- game skid against Phoenix with a 127-124 win on March 12.

04/09 10:57:05 ET