The Minnesota Timberwolves would appear to have little left to play for, but they still have a chance to accomplish one feat.
By winning their final two home games, the Timberwolves would finish above .500 at the Target Center for the first since 2005-06, and they will try to take the first step toward that goal Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns.
Minnesota (29-50) is set to miss the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season but has a shot at a small consolation prize: a winning record at home. The Timberwolves are 19-20 there this season and will face the Suns (24-55) and Jazz on their final homestand.
They were competitive in Utah on Friday but finished 0-3 on their road trip with a 107-100 loss. J.J. Barea’s season-high 23 points paced six players in double figures in that defeat, the team’s third game in four nights.
“And (Saturday) will be our fourth game in (five) nights, and the team we play (Phoenix) is there waiting for us,” coach Rick Adelman said. “It makes no sense to me. You can see it’s going to happen once in a while, but for us it’s happening all the time.
“It’s the second time in four, five nights in the last 2 1/2 weeks of the season. But it’s what it is. You’ve got to go out and play. You can’t worry about it.”
The Timberwolves haven’t recorded 20 home wins since 2006-07 and haven’t had a winning record there since going 24-17 the previous season. A matchup with the Suns might help them accomplish the first of those goals and move a step closer to the second.
The Suns have dropped 16 of 19 but snapped a 10-game losing streak in their most recent game Wednesday with a 102-91 win in Dallas. Goran Dragic led the way with 21 points and 13 assists, and P.J. Tucker provided two key baskets to help Phoenix also end a seven-game road skid.
“I think it was important for our guys to feel good. And we played a really good game (against Houston on Tuesday); unfortunately we couldn’t win it,” coach Lindsey Hunter said. “I think the guys responded really well.”
Phoenix had won six straight in Minnesota until a 111-107 defeat Dec. 29. Nikola Pekovic had a team-best 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves in that game but missed Friday’s loss because of a bruised left calf.
Minnesota is hoping he can return for this game, as he’s averaging 18.4 points on 62.3 percent shooting in his last five matchups with Phoenix.
The Timberwolves have won two of three in the season series, including a 117-86 rout in Phoenix on March 22. The Suns’ win was in overtime Feb. 26.
The T-wolves are seeking to win the season series for the first time since a four-game sweep in 2003-04.