Editor-in-Chief for SB Nations WelcometoLoudCity.com, Sarah Dewberry joined the Suns JAM Session Podcast to preview the match-up between the Suns and the Thunder.
Are the Thunder meeting your expectations so far in the bubble?
Starting out 2-1 in the bubble, with lopsided victories over the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Thunder were then blown out by the desperate Memphis Grizzlies. Sarah goes on the describes what all Thunders fans were feeling before and after the loss to the Grizzlies:
“They’re entering on this high that they beat the number one seed and then they got dismantled. But they were also without a lot of players too: Terrance Ferguson, Mike Muscala, Dennis Schroder, and Steven Adams with the last minute scratch.”
The injuries continue to pile up in the bubble along with teams resting their star players, just to make it to the playoffs. The head-to-head match-ups from the starting five to the bench are up in the air until tip-off.
Like a lot of fans at home watching, Sarah finishes by saying, “This is not Thunder basketball that I am used to.” The expectations may only be met once the playoffs are finished to really grasp what we are seeing right now by the Thunder and the other 21 teams in the bubble.
What match-up do you prefer in the first round for the Thunder?
“I want them to play the Rockets.” Sarah continues to explain why she favors this match-up for the Thunder, “It will be a great series for the Thunder to come in and just dismantle the Rockets and send Russell and Harden home early. That would be the cherry on top!”
Russell Westbrook and James Harden look to out shoot the competition and after one year removed from Oklahoma City, Westbrook may be looking to take over the game to prove a point. That can be costly for the Houston Rockets.
Sarah added, “You(Thunder) guys can lose in the second round, I don’t care but if you get the Rockets in the first round and send them home in four- six games, I’m all for it.”
From what was expected in the beginning of the season for the Thunder, a second round exit may be over-achieving.
Name one player to watch that Suns fans might not know about?
With a laundry list of respectable players playing for the Thunder, Sarah had to really think, “If Schroder was on the team, Schroder would be the one to look out for but I don’t know when he will be coming back.”
Leaving the bubble to attend to the birth of his child, Schroder likely will be absent against the Suns.
Then Sarah points out, “Adams is a big force to reckon with. He is day-to-day.”
Another player that may be missing, but he is the final choice of who she believes the Suns fans should be looking out for.
Sarah finishes, “He’s an awesome source on the court and off the court. He’s fun but when he gets on the court it’s all business.”
Suns fans know the difficulty Deandre Ayton has when playing against Adams. Maybe he can take Monday game off?
What are the Thunder’s strengths and weaknesses?
“I think the weakness is Billy Donovan,” The head coach of the Thunder is at the top of the list when addressing the problem areas for the Thunder as Sarah explains, “he did not utilize the bench.”
This is something that can drive fans up the wall when players from the bench are not utilized to their strengths. Something the Suns have a long history of but have seemed to correct in the bubble so far.
“The leadership of Chris Paul,” Sarah said. “You have him being able to lead. If he’s doing well I think everyone else is doing well.”
You really can’t overstate the impact Chris has had on this young team, leading the Thunder to yet again, another successful season thus far.
Prediction for the game
“I don’t know, I hope we win but it may be by two or three points.” Sarah might be uncertain just like the rest of us when predicting these games, but you always have to go with your team.
For what has been an exhilarating ride so far for the the Suns and their fans, Sarah is hoping that train stops Monday. Until next time Sarah!