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Thunder Game Day #79: at Phoenix Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33, 17-21 away) vs. Phoenix Suns (22-57, 13-26 home)
Friday, April 9 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: Talking Stick Resort Arena (18,422)

Thunder Game Day #79: at Phoenix Sunsvs. Thunder Digest

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
TV: NBATV
Online Stream: here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 9½-point favorite. O/U is 227½
Notes: Thunder: here | Suns: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Russell Westbrook goes for history as the Thunder look to stay alive in the race for the No. 5 seed as they travel to the desert to take on the Phoenix Suns.
  • The Suns have been struggling and that’s saying it nicely. They’ve dropped 13 in a row and 15 of their last 16 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-1 vs. Phoenix this season, but the Suns beat Oklahoma City 118-111 on March 3.

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).
  • Tonight’s game is on NBATV for those not in Oklahoma.

WIN OVER THE BUCKS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Recap
  • Oklahoma City held an advantage for the majority of the game but Memphis started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take a three-point lead. Russell Westbrook scored 14 points in the quarter, including to lead the Thunder to a win.
  • Westbrook turned in his 60th double-double of the season, second in the NBA. It was his league-leading 17th 40-plus point game of the year(also a Thunder era record).
  • Doug McDermott scored 10 points to go along with a Thunder season-high seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
  • The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies, 26-13 in fast break opportunities on the evening.

SCOUTING THE SUNS

  • The Phoenix Suns are 22-57 on the season, last in the Western Conference.
  • Phoenix is 0-10 in their last 10 games.
  • The Suns have dropped 13 straight games and 15 of their last 16 games.
  • Phoenix lost to the Warriors 120-111 on Wednesday night.
  • The Thunder is 21-10 versus the Suns during the Oklahoma City era.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-1 vs. Phoenix this season.
  • The Suns beat the Thunder 118-111 on March 3 in Phoenix.
  • Oklahoma City is 8-6 all-time on the road vs. Phoenix, including 2-4 in their last six games.
  • Russell Westbrook has two triple-doubles against the Suns this year and was one assist short of three.
  • Westbrook is averaging 41.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 13.7 assists in three games
  • Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) is a game-time decision.
  • Tyson Chandler (rest) is out for the season.
  • Brandon Knight (back) is out for the season.
  • Eric Bledsoe (knee) is out for the season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Phoenix came on Feb. 8, 2013, 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. Phoenix occurred during a 118-140 loss on Feb. 20, 2009.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 78 career triple-doubles, that’s tied for fourth all-time.
  • 23 of the 78 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Westbrook has seven straight triple-doubles.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
  • Westbrook is fourth all-time in triple-doubles.

ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST

Rank Name Triple-doubles
1 Oscar Robertson 181
2 Magic Johnson 138
3 Jason Kidd 108
4 Russell Westbrook 79

INJURY REPORT

  • Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Sunday.
  • Denver is 37-41 on the season, ninth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-0 and has won eight in a row vs. Denver, including four in a row on the road.
  • Denver is 4-6 in their last 10 games.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Turnovers

Oklahoma City’s turnovers were their achille’s heel against Charlotte. Oklahoma City has to take care of it tonight if they’re going to take down the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. If they turn it over, they’ll lose by a sizable margin tonight.

Fast break

The Hornets were able to limit the Thunder’s fast break ability by not turning it over. The Grizzlies takes care of the on average through the league. In their loss to the Grizzlies, Oklahoma City couldn’t force many turnovers and it was their downfall.

Bench production

Oklahoma City’s bench has been very inconsistent this year and lately it has been so bad. If Enes Kanter and Alex Abrines can find their shot and rhythm again, the Thunder can find the W again.

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