Suns (17-33, 5-21 road) vs. Thunder (37-12, 22-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.5 (1st), Suns– 102.6 (25th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (8th), Suns – 107.3 (24th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.4 (8th), Suns – 92.3 (9th)
View from the enemy: Valley of the Suns
Tonight’s the first part of a little home and home with the Suns, a team playing moderately better after making a coaching change recently. The Thunder are also playing more than moderately better, at least in their last two home games, blowouts over the Mavs and Warriors.
The Thunder have a week until All-Star Weekend starts, with four games in between. Three very winnable, the final one against the Heat, but at home. The Thunder clearly ramped things up a bit the last two home games, playing with an extra edge and intensity. Keeping that going to the break would be great, and mean a solid six-game win streak waiting for them to build on after the weekend’s festivities conclude.
Phoenix coming in: The Suns lost to the Hornets on Wednesday.
Three Big Things
1. Keep the edge. More of what we’ve seen the last two. Hyperintense defense, crisp, unselfish offense. It’s not just effective, but super fun to watch.
2. Gortat. The Thunder have done terrific work on him in the first two meetings, but he’s a great roll man and OKC’s screen-and-roll defense is going to have to be on point tonight.
3. B-Easy. The one player the Suns have that can be scary is Michael Beasley. He’s inconsistent and erratic, but sometimes he can take over a game offensively. He’s getting more minutes lately and with him playing his old buddy KD, he’ll likely be focused for this one.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Friday.