OKC Thunder (49-24, 21-14 road) at Phoenix Suns (36-37, 20-17 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.8 (6th), Suns– 109.5 (9th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.0 (15th), Suns – 109.9 (22nd)
Pace: Thunder – 92.8 (12th), Suns – 94.4 (7th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
After unnecessarily playing five extra minutes last night against Golden State, it might be a little difficult for the Thunder to find their legs against the up and down Suns. Not an excuse, but reality. Back-to-backs are never easy and going back to back versus the Warriors and Suns certainly isn’t.
Of course the last time these teams met it was one of the many overtime games OKC has played this year. The Thunder escaped after Vince Carter missed two of three at the free throw line.
Phoenix coming in: The Suns have dropped three straight and last played last night in Sacramento.
Steve Nash has been battling a small abdomen issue lately but will play. But even if he’s not 100 percent, Aaron Brooks gives the Suns a really nice scoring option. Vince Carter for some reason think it’s 2003 every time he plays OKC so between 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. That’s what the Thunder did most of the way last time.
Then again, having Kendrick Perkins inside changes things a bit. Perk matches up well with Gortat. So maybe Ibaka’s minutes get cut if OKC goes small. Grant Hill has done a really nice job on KD the past few times they’ve played, so that’s something to watch.
Last game in March for the Thunder who are 13-2 this month. Let’s close it out well.
Tip at 9:00 CT. Thunder up.