Oklahoma City Thunder (37-29, 21-11 home)
Phoenix Suns (19-47, 10-23 away)
Thursday, March 8 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 10-point favorite. The over/under is 229½.
Online Stream: FS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Suns: here
SETTING THE SCENE
- Facing a two-game losing streak, the Oklahoma City Thunder face a must win a game as they host the Phoenix Suns tonight.
- Oklahoma City comes into tonight’s game 1-1 against the Suns this season, splitting the series in Phoenix.
- The Thunder are trying to keep pace with the rest of the West. Oklahoma City loses and they’ll only be one game out of missing the playoffs.
- This stretch starts three of four games against teams that are below .500 for the Thunder.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
- You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
- Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
SCOUTING THE SUNS
- The Phoenix Suns are 19-47 on the season, 14th in the Western Conference.
- While Phoenix is 1-9 in their last 10 games, they just ended a 10-game losing streak.
- Phoenix lost to the Miami Heat 125-103 on Monday night.
- The Suns are 5-23 since Jan. 1.
- Oklahoma City is trailing the series with the Suns 127-107 all-time.
- The Thunder are 22-12 against the Suns since relocation.
- Oklahoma City has won 12 straight home games, dating back to Dec. 2010.
- The Thunder are a lifetime 13-4 at home against Phoenix.
- The Suns won the first meeting of the season on Jan. 7 in Phoenix. The Suns beat the Thunder 114-100.
- The Thunder responded with a 124-116 win last week.
- INJURY REPORT:
Brandon Knight (knee) is out.
Alan Williams (knee)
- The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Phoenix came on Feb. 8, 213, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 127-96 (31-point margin of victory).
- Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. the Suns occurred during a 140-118 loss on Feb. 20, 2009.
THUNDER INJURY REPORT
- Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
- The Thunder will host the Spurs (Sat.) to round out the week.
- Next week, Oklahoma City will play the Kings, Hawks and Clippers before playing in Toronto for an early noon tip on Sunday, March 18.
WHAT’S IN A SUNS NAME
- General manager Jerry Colangelo, only 28 at the time, settled on a name for his expansion franchise using a name-the-team contest in 1968.
- Colangelo chose Suns over Scorpions, Rattlers, and Thunderbirds, among the other suggestions included in the 28,000 entries.
- One lucky fan won $1,000 and season tickets as part of the contest, which included such obscure entries as White Wing Doves, Sun Lovers, Poobahs, Dudes, and Cactus Giants.
Three Keys to the Game
The Suns, for all of their failures this season, when they make some threes, they can be tough to beat. They’re 11-11 when the Suns make more threes than their opponent. The Thunder are 16-7 when they out-shoot an opponent from three. The Thunder will have to keep the Suns at bay. In their first game, the Suns made double what the Thunder made.
Rebounding is so imperative to the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 26-10 this season when they out rebound their opponents. Oklahoma City though, a poor 10-19 when they don’t. It’s like the three-point shooting. Oklahoma City was out rebounded by the Suns, and that contributed to the loss. They have to do a better job tonight.
Oklahoma City needs to figure out their turnover situation. They’re averaging 16.0 turnovers per game since the All-Star Break (27th). The Suns are getting out into transition more than ever since the break, scoring 22 points per game on the break. Oklahoma City cuts down the turnovers and the Suns cannot get out on the break, they’ll win.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!