Wolf Trap: Phoenix Suns vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Here Tonight

A mid-January game against the Minnesota Timberwolves is no big D, right? The playoffs-bound Phoenix Suns will ring up these bottom-feeding fools without stainin' their sweats, yo?

Wrong on both counts. And that "playoff-bound" part is dicey, in and of itself.

Everyone but the Suns seems to realize that every win's gonna count in '08-'09. But while Phoenix is handing out freebies to the mediocre likes of Indiana and struggling against true-blue losers like Oklahoma City, eight other Western Conference team's battling for a playoff spot that one very good team from the West isn't gonna get. Eight openings. Nine playoff-caliber teams. Do the math. The Suns can't seem to.

They'd best bust out the protractors against the T-Wolves tonight, 'cause this game's got "trap" written all over it. They've skated in the last two games against the Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks. They'll need more energy to stop T-Wolf center/forward Al Jefferson (pictured) & Co.

For one thing, no other Western team that the Suns ought to beat like a drum gives them such consistent fits. For another, after the Minnesota game, Phoenix heads into one of those hair-ball NBA stretches where they play six games in nine nights, all on the East Coast (at Toronto, Boston, New York, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Washington). The swing also includes two nasty back-to-backs (Raptors/Celtics January 18 and 19, Hawks/Wizards on the 25th and 26th).

Our math says: 3-3 with a strong tailwind, which is still a potential minus-3 in the loss column to the rest of the West.

So somebody slap a muzzle on big T-Wolf Al Jefferson, Suns assassin nonpareil, and get that W while the gettin's good, guys.

Tip's at 7 p.m. tonight at US Airways Center. See www.nba.com/suns. TV: FSN AZ. Radio: KTAR-AM 620.

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