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Game Day #62: Thunder at Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (44-17, 19-11 away) at Phoenix Suns (32-29, 18-11 home)

 vs. 

Where: US Airways Center – Phoenix, AZ
When: 9:00 p.m.
TV:
 FSOK (Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, DirectTV 679, UVerse 754)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Suns
PG Russell Westbrook Steve Nash
SG Thabo Sefolosha Shannon Brown
SF Kevin Durant Jared Dudley
PF Serge Ibaka Channing Frye
C Kendrick Perkins Martin Gortat
6th Man James Harden Michael Redd

Last time: Oklahoma City beat Phoenix in Oklahoma City 115-104

The Thunder are looking to recover from a miserable half of basketball — and easily their lowest-scoring game of the season — heading into Phoenix on Wednesday night for a possible playoff preview.

While Oklahoma City has clinched the Northwest Division, its seeding in the Western Conference and first-round opponent next weekend are far from decided with five games remaining.

The Thunder are in a tight battle with San Antonio for the best record in the West, but the Spurs own the tiebreaker because they won the season series. If Oklahoma City does finish atop the conference, it could open the postseason against a Suns team that has moved into a tie with Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot.

While the Thunder have been at or near the top of the West all season, Phoenix (32-29) had the conference’s third-worst record two months ago.

The Thunder haven’t looked very playoff-ready of late, dropping five of nine. They blew a nine-point halftime lead Monday in a 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, getting held to 25 second-half points on 9-of-31 shooting (29.0 percent).

The Thunder have lost their last five games against teams with winning records but have won five in a row versus Phoenix, including two this season — both in Oklahoma. The Suns have surrendered an average of 114.2 points during that skid.

Westbrook has shot at least 50.0 percent from the field in four straight against Phoenix, averaging 24.3 points. He had 31 points and 10 assists in a 115-104 win over the Suns on March 7 in the most recent matchup while Durant and James Harden each scored 30.

Harden, a former Arizona State star, has averaged 22.0 points on 61.5 percent shooting in the past four meetings.

Keys to the Game

Score Points
Oklahoma City scored a franchise low 25 points against the Clippers in the second half in a 92-77 loss. Oklahoma City needs to score if they want to win the game. Simple, right?

Shoot the Three
Shooting 30% in their last meeting, OKC won the game, but could have really destroyed the Suns had they hit more three-point shots. They struggled against the Clippers as well.

Rebound
The rebounding edge killed the Thunder versus the Clippers in the second half. It seemed every time the Thunder got a crucial stop, the Clippers found a way to pull down the offensive rebound. OKC cannot allow that to happen tonight.

 

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