The Oklahoma City Thunder will be fresh from a night off and will want to reverse their fortunes having dropped a close encounter against the Houston Rockets in their last game. The Phoenix Suns will be a desperate and hungry squad as they try to remain in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
There is no denying that the Suns have put together a very good season and have exceeded the expectations of the basketball world this season. That won’t be wasted on the Thunder, but there is little room for sympathy as the Thunder try to secure the #2 seed in the west and keep improving on their way to the NBA Playoffs.
Phoenix will be at home where they are 25-14 this season, but the Thunder have been far from a poor road team. At 23-13 away from Chesapeake, the idea of playing teams on their home floor doesn’t phase them. They should be close to full strength as Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook are chances to play after sitting out the Rockets game (Perk will no doubt be on very limited minutes and the Thunder coaching staff will still monitor Westbrook’s) and Reggie Jackson was terrific against the Rockets having seemingly gotten over his back sprain. They will still be without Thabo Sefolosha.
“The streak” is still alive and well for Kevin Durant, but as we saw in the last game, winning is the first priority. It would be a nice bonus if the win is secured on the back of a 25+ point game from KD though.
This is the third and final meeting of these two sides (unless they meet in the playoffs at some stage) and both teams have taken the points – splitting their first two meetings. Gerald Green torched the Thunder in one game and Russell Westbrook had a monstrous night in the other. The stage is set for some more heroics.
Tied for the eighth spot in the West, the Suns know that they hold the key to their destiny and will be a very tough matchup for the Thunder. OKC are going to have to ensure they play the same brand of basketball that saw them beat the Spurs (ending their 19 game winning streak) and narrowly losing to the Rockets. Defensive pressure, no open looks and winning the rebound count will be a great way for the Thunder to gain the advantage.
With Kevin Durant on your squad, the offense will come, but the Thunder need to lock in defensively and ensure none of the guards or wing players get hot from deep. The Suns are a terrific shooting team from long range and have utilised the shot with frequency over the past 12 games – winning 9 of them.
The stage is set for an intense and entertaining game and the Thunder should be able to pull this one out and get back on the winners list. Thunder 104, Suns 95
Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder