Minnesota Timberwolves first-round playoff opponent set

Anthony Edwards #5 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on between teammates Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Rudy Gobert #27 during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 20, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvan (Getty Images)

We now know who the Minnesota Timberwolves will play in round one of the NBA Playoffs.

It took until the last game of the year for the Wolves playoff seed to get set. For much of the season, the Wolves have been the best team in the west, holding down or fighting for the top seed for much of the year.

Headed into Game 82, the Wolves had a chance to finish anyone from first to third in the conference. But the chances of the Wolves taking the top seed in the West for the playoffs quickly evaporated. After losing to the Nuggets last week, the Wolves needed to win and a little help.

But, in Minneapolis on Sunday, the Wolves game quickly got out of hand. The Wolves ended up dropping the season finale to the Suns by a score of 125 to 106.

With the loss, and both Denver and Oklahoma City winning, the Timberwolves dropped back into the third seed. With that, they are now set to face the Suns, again.

Timberwolves (3) vs. Suns (6)

The Suns will make for a tough matchup for Minnesota. The Wolves are 0-3 on the year against Phoenix, with each loss being by double digits.

The first loss came early in the season on the road in Phoenix, with the Suns winning 133 to 115. The Suns shot 55% from three and 60% from the field. Both Kevin Durant and Devin Booker scored 31 points for Phoenix. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 25 points.

The teams wouldn't see each other again until the final month of the regular season. The second matchup, on April 5 and again in Phoenix, was a defensive grinder, with Phoenix winning 97 to 87. Both teams struggled to shoot from three-point range.

Cold starts seemed to be a problem for the Wolves. During both April games, the Wolves came out slow. On April 5, the Suns had a 15-0 lead early in the 1st. On Sunday, Minnesota was down 44-22 after the 1st and could never quite close the deficit.

Suns coach Frank Vogel has made his career on defense and the Wolves, particularly Anthony Edwards, have struggled with their scheming.

In the first two games, Rudy Gobert also struggled to be effective on offense, only scoring 4 points in each game. Part of that may be the tough matchup with Suns center Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic is a big body, at 7 feet and 290 pounds, and a prolific rebounder who can body up opponents in the paint; it's a tough matchup for anyone.

Sunday, Gobert was able to produce in the paint, scoring 21 points on nine shots.

The first round of the NBA playoffs is set to begin on April 20 and 21.