OKC Thunder (29-8, 11-5 road) at Phoenix Suns (13-26, 10-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.8 (1st), Suns– 103.3 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.0 (6th), Suns – 107.8 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.5 (8th), Suns – 91.8 (14th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
Considering what a tough, gritty, physical challenge it was to come out on top against the Blazers last night, this is a dangerous back-to-back. The Suns aren’t very good, but they’re at least mediocre at home. And the Thunder could be shorthanded again (both Ibaka and Thabo are game-time decisions) while also playing with heavy legs.
In all honesty, if there was ever a time for Scott Brooks to pull a mini Popovich, it would be tonight. Perk’s already tweeted about how tired he is. You’re not going to convince KD or Westbrook to sit, so forget that, but maybe a few other guys could use an easy night. Especially with the slate of games ahead. Problem is, if the Thunder are still shorthanded, that could be a problem. But this could be an open chance for Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb to get a longer run of minutes.
Phoenix coming in: The Suns took down the Bulls on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Fatigue. To reiterate, being tired could be a problem for OKC tonight. Though typically in the past, it hasn’t been.
2. K-Mart. It would be nice for the Thunder to really involve Martin and get him in a good rhythm early. He didn’t shoot the ball well last night and in the first meeting with Phoenix went just 2-12 and 1-6 from 3.
3. Scola. If Serge Ibaka is out, Luis Scola becomes more of a problem. He got OKC for 24 points in the last meeting and while Nick Collison is an apt defender, the Thunder need bodies to throw out there. That could mean more smallball, it could mean Perry Jones III or it could mean something else that I don’t want to think about.
Tip at 8:00 CT. Go Conditioning.