Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

OKC Thunder (29-8) vs. Phoenix Suns (13-26) Preview


The Oklahoma City Thunder will look to win their fourth straight game tonight on the road against a struggling Phoenix Suns team that has lost 11 of its last 13 games.

This is the second of four meetings between the Thunder and Suns this season. The Thunder beat them in Oklahoma City back on Dec. 31 114-96.

Kevin Durant had 30 points in that game and Russell Westbrook had 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

The Suns aren’t exactly the kind of team with a good chance to beat the Thunder but they may have an added advantage tonight with the status of starters Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha up in the air.

Ibaka and Seflosha each missed their first game of the season last night while the Thunder won in Portland 87-83. Ibaka was out with a chest contusion and Sefolosha a sore neck. Both will be game-time decisions tonight.

The Thunder are also playing on the road for the second night in a row which is never easy to do in the NBA. The Thunder are 5-2 this season on zero days rest. The biggest drop off the Thunder have experienced when playing the second game of a back-to-back is with 3-point shooting.

The Thunder started out the season shooting lights out from beyond the arc but have since cooled off. Kevin Martin especially has been struggling. Last night he went 1-of-8 from the field and 0-for-5 from three. Against Phoenix earlier this year, Martin was 2-for-12 from the field and 1-for-6 from three.

Durant’s spectacular play of late has made up for Martin’s struggles though. Durant had 33 last night and 42 the game before against the Los Angeles Lakers. Durant has been doing more handling of the ball in the pick-and-roll lately and it has resulted in very good things for OKC.

Phoenix shot the ball well against the Thunder in the first meeting but they allowed OKC to shoot over 50 percent from the field. The Suns are not a great defensive team and will struggle to keep OKC from putting up 100-plus points.

Road back-to-backs are never easy in the NBA but if there is a team who can deal with it the best, that team would be the Thunder. The Suns do not match up well with them so expect the Thunder to become the first team to 30 wins this season after tonight.

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder Phoenix Suns