If a magic number indicates the combination of game results a team needs to qualify for the postseason, is the same number for playoff contention elimination an “unmagic number?”

If it is, that number for the Phoenix Suns is one. A Suns loss or one more win by the Los Angeles Lakers would eliminate Phoenix from postseason contention for the third straight season. It’ll be the team’s first three-year postseason absence since the span from 1986 to 1988.

The Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday at US Airways Center, and they’ll be short-handed when they do. Center Jermaine O’Neal will miss the contest with a left calf strain and an illness and according to interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, swingman Jared Dudley will probably miss the game as well.

“I’m thinking both guys have the stomach flu or something,” he said.

– Reported by Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports