The Timberwolves have a Suns-sized issue

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns
Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Minnesota Timberwolves traveled to Phoenix on April 5 to play the Suns in hopes of creating more separation for first place in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, the Wolves lost to the Suns 97-87 after Grayson Allen led all scorers with 23 points. The score looked better than the game itself as the Suns took an early 15-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. 

One loss to a talented Suns team does not look bad but this is not the case. Since the Rudy Gobert trade, the Suns have absolutely dominated the Timberwolves, posting a 5-1 record since 2022-23 with an average win differential of 8.5 points. 

Not having big man Karl-Anthony Towns certainly didn't help the cause, but for a team with the best record against conference opponents in the west, their history against the Suns is a concern for a championship contender. 

The Timberwolves are currently tied for first with the Denver Nuggets but only have a one-game advantage over the Oklahoma City Thunder in third place for the conference. It is noteworthy to know that the Wolves do have the tiebreaker as of right now over both teams so they have more wiggle room to spare, but the race for first place is as strenuous as ever.

The Suns are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, avoiding the play-in tournament. They only have a one-game advantage over the New Orleans Pelicans who hold seventh place, but they are only one game behind the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks. 

With only five games left in the regular season, it's still too tight of a race to aim for wins and/or losses to avoid the Suns in the playoffs. However, this is not a matchup the Timberwolves would want to see early in the postseason. 

There is an argument to be made that a young team like the Timberwolves should aim for the top seed in the West no matter what, but a potential one-versus-eight matchup between the Wolves and Suns does not sound too appetizing for a hungry team trying to win their first playoff series since 2004.