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Three Keys For The Suns to Upset The Timberwolves

These players are among the keys to the Suns winning their first round matchup.

Tomorrow marks the start of the 2024 NBA Playoffs. One of the most interesting matchups in the postseason is between the sixth-seeded Phoenix Suns and the third-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves. This series features Phoenix’s established superstars (Kevin Durant and Devin Booker) against Minnesota’s young studs (Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony Towns). The star battle creates an interesting contrast in styles. Let’s dive into three keys for the Suns to pull off an upset against the Timberwolves.

Three Keys For The Suns to Upset The Timberwolves

Key One: Allen and O’Neale Have to Be A Dynamic Duo

A lot of the offense in this series for Phoenix will be provided by Durant and Booker. They will get the majority of Minnesota’s defensive focus. So someone else has to take advantage of the high-percentage shooting opportunities created by them. The players that need to cash in on those opportunities are Grayson Allen and Royce O’Neale. Their ability to dominate this game is the first key to victory for Phoenix.

Allen has been a pivotal piece for the Suns since being acquired by them in September. He scored 13.5 points per game while shooting 49.9%  from the field goal, and 46.1% on three-pointers which led the league this year. When Allen has his offensive rhythm working it adds another dimension to the Suns offense. It gives Durant and Booker more room to operate and can open up opportunities for the other role players as well. Also, if the Timberwolves want to keep the Suns offense in check. They will need to make sure that he sees a lot of bodies when he has the ball in his hands. If the Timberwolves can force him to pass the ball or miss shots they can win this series. For Phoenix to win this series Allen needs to score 15-20 points per game. Also, he will need to dominate his matchup on the defensive side as well.

Additionally, Phoenix will also need the help of Royce O’Neale. He is a key role player who was acquired in early February. To help stabilize a struggling bench unit. He has done that and has become a key defensive piece for a Phoenix defensive unit that struggles on the defensive side. O’Neale’s defense will be pivotal as he will likely spend time guarding Towns. One of the best multi-level scoring big men in the league. Now KAT will get his points, but if O’Neale can keep him from scoring 20 or more points. That will help the Suns pull off the upset over Minnesota.

Key Two: Defensive Efficiency

Phoenix’s second key to victory is their ability to defend the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota has an explosive offense but they are turnover-prone and very young. If the Suns can force the Timberwolves to take difficult shots and turn the ball over, they can win this series. That is easier said than done for a team that has been inconsistent defensively.  Each player on the floor in a Suns uniform has to over-communicate on the defensive end. The Suns need to win the rebounding battle and limit Minnesota to one shot per possession. If these things happen they can move on to the second-round of the playoffs.

Key Three: Durant and Booker Have to Access Their GOD Modes

For the Suns to win this series their superstar duo of Durant and Booker have to dominate this series. Both players need to combine for around 60-75 points a night. Durant and Booker also need to create high-percentage shooting opportunities for their teammates. They are the only elite shot creators the Suns have on the roster. As such their production both as scorers and playmakers is vital for Phoenix to win.

Both players have to meet this challenge. If  both of them can put points on the board and get at least six-11 assists each. It adds another dimension to the Suns offense and makes them unstoppable.  Additionally, for that to happen, Durant and Booker have to access their G.O.D. (Greatness on a Different Level) modes and take over this series. If they can do that along with the other two keys to a Suns victory show up. Phoenix will pull off the upset in this first-round matchup with the Timberwolves.


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