Game Preview: Phoenix Suns Versus Oklahoma City Thunder

LET'S GET JACKED UP!

"I think he'll be one of the all-time great players in the game...There's nothing he can't do."

-Alvin Gentry on the Thunder's Kevin Durant

If you aren't jacked up for this one, you aren't a Suns fan. You may not even be alive. Tonight the Phoenix Suns travel to the Thunderdome to take on Oklahoma City in a pivotal Western Conference match up. 

The head to head series is knotted at 1 a piece, with each team winning on the other squad's home floor. In the first meeting, the Thunder managed to hoist up 12 more field goals than the Suns (48%). The Durant/Stoudemire dual was virtually a wash, but the Thunder's bench outscored the Suns 34-12. The Suns shot 7-23 from beyond the arc (30%) and lost the rebounding battle 48-38, not to mention the game 117-113.

In the February match up in OKC, Steve Nash sat out while Dragon Dragic took his place, putting up a line of 16/10/4 in 39 minutes of work. STAT dropped 30 and 9 while J-Rich scored 20 while snagging 13 rebounds, and Grant Hill added 21 and 9.

Of course none of that matters now. This is the stretch run, the battle for postseason positioning, the time where legends or made-crunch time. Whatever these two teams were back then matters little now. 

Here's where the Suns veteran leadership and been here before experience should prove priceless against the youngsters from OKC.

MAX should be able to dominate inside with the lack of Thunder size and strength in the paint. Nash should be able to penetrate and create. J-Rich should be able to post up Sefolosha for some easy buckets, and Grant Hill should be able run amock.

Kevin Durant will get his tonight. Russell Westbrook will prove why he's one of the top PGs in the Western Conference.The key to a Suns victory tonight will be how they handle the rest of the Thunder squad -- the Jeff Greens, the James Hardens, the Nick Collisons and the rest of the Thunder role players. A Suns potential victory hinges on their role players' performances. You know:  Lightning Lou, Dudz, Dragon, Frye, LB (it would be a good time for LB to shake off the rust, finish at the hoop, drop a few 3s, play a little D).

 

As Amare said in his morning tweet:  

Dear, Wisdom; Fantasy is what people want, Reality is what we need.

I cannot pretend to understand where Amare is at, or if he's even talking about basketball, but I'm going to run with it. Yes, reality is what the Suns find themselves dealing with in this playoff push -- it's no longer a fantasy or prediction... Yes, reality has left the Suns in the midst of an insane Western Conference finish with every game just as important is the next...Reality is playing as you are capable of playing...reality is dropping 35 and 14 against the Thunder, posterizing your opponents and bringing home a big W tonight.

Excuse me while I go 80s for a second in the hopes that I can excite my audience:

ROCKY TRIBUTE -- EYE OF THE TIGER (via USAMADE316)

 

Paul Coro: Dragic proving resilient

NewsOK: Thunder's Focus turns to defense

Suns vs Thunder coverage

Suns vs Thunder preview

Welcome to Loud City

 

Make sure y'all join the game thread tonight. Early tip off is at 5 P.M. AZ time.

 

Other Links:

  • Can a Team This Bad at Shooting Threes Really Win a Title? - Silver Screen and Roll
    A historical analysis of NBA champions who couldn't make their threes.
  • 1 on 1 with Phoenix Suns dancer Courtney Quenzler| Valley of the Suns
    If you’re a Suns fan, you’re a fan of the Phoenix Suns Dancers. I mean, how couldn’t you be? We see them every home game strutting their stuff during timeouts, but we never know much about the girls behind the pretty smiles and perfect routines.
  • NBA Admits Referees Missed Call at the End of Thunder-Jazz -- NBA FanHouse
    Now even more reason to not want to face the Thunder in the first round. "The assertion has been made that it will be difficult for Oklahoma City to advance in the playoffs because they won't be getting the benefit of the close calls from the referees. Now that the league has come out publicly to acknowledge the error in this department, going forward, that's probably less likely to be the case."
  • Buzz Manager Blog: NBA Blog Index: Top 10 NBA Blogs
    #6.) Bright Side of the Sun - I guess it’s not surprising to see a Suns blog featured on this list as they’re one of the more social savvy teams in the NBA. Seth and his team pump out tons of content including daily playoff reports down this home stretch. We also love their ability to have fun and engage their fans with NCAA bracket contests and by making fun of Lou Amundson. Hey c’mon, who doesn’t?
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