Phoenix Suns (32-28, 15-15 road) vs. OKC Thunder (38-22, 21-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.6 (6th), Suns– 110.0 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.0 (16th), Suns – 109.9 (25th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (12th), Suns – 94.2 (7th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
A return home against a team that the Thunder has seemed to always have issues with. And not because of unfavorable matchups. Just for whatever reason, the Suns always seem to have someone play big. Last time is was Grant Hill throwing back to 1997 against Oklahoma City. But with the Thunder looking to make a solid push and gain some momentum, you’ve got to think this game is a big priority.
Phoenix coming in: The Suns are playing really well, winning five of six. They last played Friday.
There’s a small question as to if Steve Nash is totally ready to go in this one as he’s battling a small abdomen issue. But even if he’s not, recently acquired Aaron Brooks gives the Suns a really nice scoring option. Vince Carter is questionable, but between him, Brooks and Nash, Phoenix has some pretty good offensive weapons. Historically though, Russell Westbrook has played well against both Brooks and Nash.
Inside, they’ve greatly improved themselves with the addition of Marcin Gortat to go with Robin Lopez. Gortat gives them a physical presence on the interior while Lopez has a bit of offensive game. And then at power forward is Channing Frye who wants to float along the perimeter and look for open 3s. Serge Ibaka has to stay disciplined and really should look to go inside on Frye. It wouldn’t shock me to see Scott Brooks go small with Kevin Durant at power forward for a lot of this game because of Frye though.
Just like the past few games, the Thunder needs a solid spark from James Harden off the bench. When Harden plays well, scoring above 15 points, the Thunder are a really, really good team. OKC’s bench has been a huge weapon with Daequan Cook, Eric Maynor and company and this is the type of game where they should make a difference.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Sunday Thunder.