In what could arguably be labeled as their toughest stretch of games this season, the Suns will look to get back to their winning ways when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit Phoenix Thursday night.
The Thunder won the first of three meetings this season in Oklahoma City on Nov. 3 and swept the four-game series last season winning 11 straight over the Suns overall.
Here are five things to watch for during #SunsVsThunder.
The last time the Suns faced the Thunder, Gerald Green scored 21 points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench.
On Sunday vs. the Hawks, the forward scored a game-high 33 points in a 129-120 victory. The Suns will need a similar effort against the tough Thunder.
The Suns attempted 37 shots from beyond the 3-point line in their last meeting with the Thunder. Phoenix connected on 14 of those attempts, and led by three entering the game’s fourth quarter.
If the Suns can shoot at an effective rate from beyond the arc, it certainly bodes well for their offense.
Tucker is having his best season yet in a Suns uniform. Albeit in a losing effort to the Clippers, P.J. Tucker scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Clippers on Tuesday. The effort marked the forward’s eighth double-double of the season.
He’ll be matched up against one of the best players in the NBA, Kevin Durant, on Thursday. Not only will the Suns need his effort on the defensive end, they’ll rely on Tucker for offensive rebounds and energy.
”All that matters is winning,” the forward said at practice Wednesday. Something tells us he’s ready for the challenge.
Stopping Durant…As Much as Possible
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and 10 rebounds in the most recent encounter between the two ballclubs. On Tuesday vs. the 76ers, the sharpshooting superstar scored 42 points behind 14-of-20 shooting from the field.
There isn’t a defense in the league who can completely stop the high-scoring Durant, but limiting the amount of easy shots he gets will be key.
With Miles Plumlee still a game-time decision due to a sprained knee, the Suns’ frontcourt has become thin. Alex Len started in place of Plumlee on Tuesday’s game against the Clippers with Shavlik Randolph getting big minutes down the stretch.
Still, Randolph has impressed in his first two games. In his first appearance as a Sun, the former Celtic scored two points and grabbed two rebounds. Following the debut performance, the forward out of Duke scored five points in just under six minutes versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
They’ll need a similar effort on both ends of the floor against Oklahoma City.
The season is winding down! Don’t miss your chance to catch arguably the “best story in the NBA” in action right here at US Airways Center! Head on over to Suns.com’s Ticket Central to get your tickets now!