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Minnesota (1-1) at Phoenix (2-0)

Steve Nash(notes) has yet another target for his well-timed passes.

Coming off one of the ?est performances of his career, Nash will be on the court with Jason Richardson(notes) for the first time this season as the Phoenix Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

Nash had 20 assists - reaching that mark for the sixth time - while adding 18 points in Phoenix’s 123-101 win over Golden State on Friday night. That performance came two days after he scored 14 fourth-quarter points, along with winning basket, to lead the Suns to a 109-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in their opener.

The 35-year-old point guard just missed his first 20-point, 20-assist game in regulation Friday. He had one in a triple-overtime loss to New York on Jan. 2, 2006.

“It’s better than getting four,” Nash said, “but for me I want to win the game. I can get five assists or 20 assists and if we win, it doesn’t matter. If you get a bunch of assists, it means a lot of guys are scoring - which is nice.”

With Nash running the offense, every Suns starter scored in double figures versus the Warriors. Leandro Barbosa(notes) had 24 points in his second start in place of Richardson, who is set to play for the first time this season after being suspended for the first two contests. Richardson was convicted of drunk driving after an arrest in December.

Richardson averaged 16.4 points in 58 games for the Suns last season after being acquired in a trade with Charlotte. He’ll join a team looking to take advantage of the few home games it has early on.

“I think everyone knows - 17 of 26 on the road to start the season - so we’ve got to win some of these early ones and we’ve got to win some of these home games so that we can give ourselves a little confidence,” Nash said, “and a little breathing room so if we lose a couple it’s not the end of the world.”

Minnesota played its first two games at home, losing 104-87 to Cleveland on Friday night after winning 95-83 over New Jersey two days earlier.

The Timberwolves, trying to learn the triangle offense under new coach Kurt Rambis, are shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 19.0 percent from 3-point range.

“We’ll have to fight, scratch and claw from the opening tip on,” Rambis said.

Rambis needs Al Jefferson(notes) to become comfortable again. The star big man, working his way back from knee surgery last February, is averaging 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 30.4 percent.

Jefferson, who is also bothered by a sore Achilles’ tendon, played 25 minutes in each of his two games. Rambis has been given permission from the team’s medical staff to stretch Jefferson’s playing time.

“During the game he’s probably going to feel fine,” Rambis said. “We just don’t want to stress him too much that we send him backwards.”

Jefferson averaged 28.7 points and 15.0 rebounds in his last six games against the Suns. Phoenix went 2-1 against Minnesota last season.

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