Thunder News and Notes from Phoenix

As is customary with back-to-back games, the Thunder did not hold a shoot-around today. The team met briefly at its Phoenix hotel to prepare for its game tonight against the Suns.

Both the Thunder (49-24) and Suns (36-37) played Tuesday night, but with different results. The Thunder defeated the Golden State Warriors, 115-114, in overtime in Oklahoma City; the Suns lost, 116-113, to the Kings in Sacramento. With the Suns playing in the Pacific time zone last night, both teams landed at about the same time in Phoenix.

The Thunder defeated the Suns, 122-118, in overtime on March 8 in the Oklahoma City Arena and lead the season series, 2-1. With a win tonight, the Thunder would win the season series against Phoenix for the second consecutive year and match its win total from last season.

WHO TO WATCH

  • Russell Westbrook. The Suns had little answer for the Thunder’s dynamic point guard in the last meeting. Westbrook finished with 32 points and 11 assists against the Suns. Coming off a near triple-double against the Warriors (15 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds) look for Westbrook to try and get hot against the Suns tonight.

  • Vince Carter. The 12-year veteran finished with 29 points in the last meeting and launched a Suns season-high 12 three-point field goal attempts. The North Carolina product has gone 6-for-12 from the three-point line in his two appearances against the Thunder this season and no doubt will try to be a factor from behind the arc tonight.

NOTEWORTHY

  • The Thunder won its eighth overtime game of the season last night to become only the fifth team in NBA history to win eight overtime games in one season. The last team to reach that mark was the Detroit Pistons during the 2002 season. The all-time mark for overtime wins is held by the Sacramento Kings, who won nine overtime games during the 2002 NBA season.

  • The Thunder is embarking on its longest road trip of the season (four games, six days) and will face two Northwest Division opponents (Portland and Denver) on this trip.

  • The Thunder will play three consecutive back-to-back sets over the next week -- Golden State-Phoenix; Portland-Los Angeles Clippers on April 1-2; and Denver-Los Angeles Clippers on April 5-6.

  • Thanks to a scheduling oddity, Thunder fans will see a lot of familiar faces over the next 10 days. The Thunder will play the Blazers for the second time in five days, the Clippers twice in a four-day span and the Nuggets twice in a six-day stretch.
CONNECTIONS
Suns point guard Zabian Dowdell played two seasons with the Tulsa 66ers. Dowdell was voted to the D-League All-Star game this season as a 66er but did not participate due to his call up with the Suns. … Hakim Warrick (Syracuse) and Nick Collison (Kansas) faced off in the 2002 NCAA Championship game (Thunder Assistant General Manager Troy Weaver was as a Syracuse assistant coach at the time).