Jan 4, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) dribbles the ball up the court against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half at US Airways Center. The Suns won 116-100. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Game 35 Preview: Suns (20-13) @ Wolves (17-17)

The Western Conference Playoff implications abound, as the 7th seeded Phoenix Suns visit the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Wolves are 3.5 games behind the Suns and 2.5 game out of the Playoffs.

If it weren’t for the Portland Trail Blazers, the Suns would be the surprise team of the West. After acquiring Eric Bledsoe in the Jared Dudley deal, jettisoning Wesley Johnson and Michael Beasley, trading Marcin Gortat for injured Emeka Okafor and welcoming Channing Frye back after sitting out a year with a heart condition, the Suns seem like an entirely different team.

Suns likely starting lineup:

PG Goran Dragic

SG Eric Bledsoe Gerald Green

SF P.J. Tucker

PF Channing Frye

C Miles Plumlee

Eric Bledsoe has been out since injuring his knee in a December 30th win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Bledsoe has only played in 24 of the Suns 33 games, but is second on the team in scoring with 18 points a night and tied for the lead in assists with 5.8 a game.

Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye and P.J. Tucker have started every game for the Suns this season. Frye is shooting 46% on the season and 42% from 3 (47% over his last 5 games). Plumlee is having a breakout season averaging 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 28 minutes a game. Tucker has replaced Dudley at small forward and plays 30 minutes a night.

Wolves likely starting lineup:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

 

After failing to do themselves any favors against the 8th seeded Dallas Mavericks, tonight could be a momentum builder for the Wolves. The Phoenix front line (full of Morris twins) could get a work out if the Suns let Frye guard Love. That said, Dragic always brings a feisty test to Rubio. Nationally televised fun ahead.

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Tags: Channing Frye Eric Bledsoe Goran Dragic Kevin Love Kevin Martin Miles Plumlee Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic Phoenix Suns Ricky Rubio

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