Minnesota (20-18) at Phoenix (31-8)

Fair Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 8:00 pm EST Sun Jan 21, 2007
  • TV: KSTC, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis are seemingly essential to any chance the Minnesota Timberwolves have of ending the Phoenix Suns’ 12-game winning streak.

With Garnett and Davis both suspended, however, the Timberwolves will be without their two best players as they face the Suns on Sunday.

Phoenix (31-8) extended its winning streak with a 106-101 win over Portland on Friday, and now faces a Minnesota (20-18) team in turmoil.

Garnett, one of the league’s most dynamic and consistent players, would normally pose a threat to the Suns’ run, but he was suspended one game by the NBA after getting into an altercation in a 104-98 double-overtime loss to Detroit on Friday.

Detroit’s Antonio McDyess appeared to start an angry tangle by knocking Mark Madsen over with a forearm shiver while they maneuvered for rebound position with 5:18 remaining in regulation and the score tied.

Garnett got mad and chucked the ball at McDyess, who charged Garnett with his fist cocked. Garnett was poised to punch, too, and took a swipe at McDyess as he partially retreated, but teammates and officials stayed between the two and no blows were landed before both players were ejected.

“All I can tell you is that everyone in this locker room is with Kevin Garnett 100 percent,” said Madsen, who will likely take Garnett’s spot in the starting lineup.

Garnett is averaging 22.2 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 blocks.

Davis, second on the Wolves with 15.4 points per game, has been suspended one game by the team because he left the bench and walked into the locker room during Friday’s contest.

Davis left the bench after he was replaced by rookie Randy Foye during the third quarter. He returned a couple of minutes later, but appeared upset and did not play the rest of the game.

“You can’t have that happen,” Wolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said. “There are certain things that are out of bounds.”

Foye, the seventh overall pick in the draft, will likely start in place of Davis and is averaging 8.6 points and 2.2 assists.

This season Suns team now has two of the three longest winning streaks in franchise history. The Suns won 15 straight earlier this season, breaking the franchise record of 14 set in the 1992-93 season.

Just winning isn’t enough right now for the Phoenix, though, as it has started off slowly in each of the last three games.

The Suns needed six points and an assist from Steve Nash in the final 1:17 to escape with their 28th victory in their last 30 games.

“You beat a bunch of teams you should beat and fool yourself into thinking you’re good because you’ve won 12 in a row or whatever,” the two-time reigning MVP said. “Our team needs to really realize the amount of ground we have to cover, the amount of improvement we have to make in order to be a championship team. Right now I think we’ve forgotten that.”

Nash said the Suns might be better off losing, even though they’re chasing Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference.

“It wouldn’t be a bad thing,” he said. “Obviously it would hurt us because we’re chasing homecourt, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s about being the best possible team we can be, and if we can’t learn the lessons when we’re winning … we’ve got a lot of lessons to learn and a lot of improving to do.”

Phoenix won two of its three games against Minnesota last season.

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Sunday, Jan 21