Phoenix Suns (12-13, 5-8 road) vs. OKC Thunder (19-8, 10-4 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.5 (9th), Suns– 111.6 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.1 (17th), Suns – 113.3 (30th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.9 (15th), Suns – 95.0 (6th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
The Thunder gets the pleasure of playing the Suns the day after basically half of their rotation was turned over in a pretty massive trade with the Magic. Gone is Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. In comes Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat.
However, all three are inactive for tonight’s game. The Suns recalled Gani Lawal, but still only have eight or nine active bodies to toss out against the Thunder tonight.
Phoenix coming in: The Suns have dropped four of their last five and last played Friday at Dallas.
The matchups are a bit complicated at this point because of the roster turnover. But we know about Steve Nash and though he’s battling a bit of a back injury, he’s probably to play tonight. Behind him is Goran Dragic, who is absolutely capable of subbing in and playing well for Nash though. However, both aren’t great defenders and Russell Westbrook typically fares well against them.
Hakim Warrick is an athletic inside presence that thrives off of Nash’s pick-and-roll and passing abilities. He’s not Amare Stoudemire, but he’s been okay. Serge Ibaka matches up well with him though. Robin Lopez is a quality big man and Channing Frye can light things up from outside. So OKC’s big guys can’t take the night off by any means.
Grant Hill is a main scoring threat for Phoenix so locking him down with Thabo is a smart bet. Kevin Durant historically has played well against the Suns and their softer defense, so I’d expect a decently solid game from him.
Closing out the homestand is key and this game looked to be the toughest of the four but now should be a bit on the easier side. Doesn’t mean it’s a given by any means, but it’s certainly a good opportunity.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Thunderteam.