Phoenix Suns (11-20, 2-13 road) vs. OKC Thunder (23-6, 15-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.8 (1st), Suns– 104.5 (16th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (9th), Suns – 108.4 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.7 (8th), Suns – 92.3 (10th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
The Thunder are 79-0 on New Year’s Eve (note: actually 4-0 in the OKC era). And one of those wins includes beating the Suns on Dec. 31 (last season). So what I’m saying is, history is on the Thunder’s side here.
The Suns aren’t very good, especially on the road. They lack talent, depth and talent. And talent. They have a couple players that can score though if you don’t pay attention like Goran Dragic, Luis Scola and Jared Dudley. What I’m saying here is, the Thunder should roll into 2013 with another win. Unless they don’t show up.
Phoenix coming in: Lost to the Wolves on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Gortat and roll. The Suns focus a lot of their offense on the pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat. He really hasn’t been all that effective this season, but he’s a threat to score 20 at any time. Perk, Ibaka and Collison will all need to be keyed in on him.
2. Small. The Suns start Scola at power forward but use Dudley and Michael Beasley often at the 4. Which plays right into the Thunder’s hands, assuming Scott Brooks is willing to match. Or Brooks can dictate the smallball matchups himself. Because OKC going small means that Alvin Gentry will have to remove either Scola or Gortat, which is a win for the Thunder.
3. Russell. He seemed to finally shed his shooting slump against the Rockets. And talked about the confidence boost that was. Is he about to start trending upwards? It starts with putting together consecutive performances and against the Suns soft defense, he has a good chance at that.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Final 2012 Thunder.