Previewing the 4 known NBA playoff matchups, including the Nuggets 2nd rd opponents

Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages
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Because of the Play-In Tournament, we only know four of the eight first-round NBA playoff matchups as of now. Tuesday night’s Pelicans/Lakers game will decide the opponent for the Denver Nuggets. But while we wait, we do know what four of the first-round series will look like, including the Nuggets’ potential second-round opponent. Let’s break them down one by one starting right there in the West.

3 Minnesota Timberwolves vs 6 Phoenix Suns

This feels close to a worst-case scenario for the Wolves after they had an incredible season. The Suns beat the Wolves all three times they played this year including a dominant regular season finale on Sunday.

The Suns have the pull-up and midrange shooters to give the Wolves stout defense trouble schematically and we’ve seen it play out multiple times as Phoenix scored over 118 points per game against Minnesota this season.

The Suns also have solid length to throw at Anthony Edwards, which has given him trouble, including Sunday’s meeting when he scored just 13 points on 3/7 shooting and turned the ball over five times. It’s about as quiet a night as Ant will have and he’ll have to find a way to get going in this series if the Wolves have any hopes of winning.

Having said that, the Wolves are still a really good team, with an elite defense, and what should be a solid homecourt advantage. This will be a very even series that could easily go the distance. I trust the Wolves' defense to figure it out and find ways to limit the Suns’ offense, but I’m concerned about the offense.

Minnesota needs Towns to be scoring and hitting shots like his usual regular season self, and they are going to need role players to step up - especially scoring-wise. I think this will be one of the best first-round series to watch and I expect a really fun back-and-forth battle. In the end, I like the Wolves to scrape by and Anthony Edwards to have his first real playoff moment, setting up a second-round series with the Denver Nuggets.

The pick: Timberwolves in 7