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Game Preview: Suns take on the mysterious Thunder

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Tonight, the Thunder are in Phoenix and are ready to battle in what can be another close game for the Suns.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What: Oklahoma City Thunder (20-27) at Phoenix Suns (33-14)

When: Friday, 7:00PM AZ time

Where: Phoenix Suns Arena

Watch: Bally Sports Arizona (formerly FSAZ)

Listen: 98.7 FM


The Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Phoenix Suns tonight and are enjoying the underdog role this year. A team that should be tanking this year is still proving they can play with the rest of the league with completive outings.

This might not be an enjoyable matchup on paper, but the energy and hustle is always there game to game for the Thunder. This is absolutely a game where the Suns need to play smart to keep the no-named Thunder team under the rug.

If you are a Thunder fan looking for tickets but hesitant because your favorite player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will not be playing, sleep on it. It would not be a surprise if this one goes down to the wire.


Probable Starters

Suns

  1. Chris Paul
  2. Devin Booker
  3. Mikal Bridges
  4. Jae Crowder
  5. Deandre Ayton

Thunder

  1. Theo Maledon
  2. Svi Mykailiuk
  3. Moses Brown
  4. Isaiah Roby
  5. Kenrich Williams

The Thunder Report

Last 12 games for the Thunder:

Record (6-6), with victories against the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks.

Career/season stats for their starting line-up (according to who started last game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday):

  • Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Career: 141 games, 6.8 PTS, 1.5 AST, 39.9 FG%

Season: 43 games 7.6 PTS, 1.6 AST, 39.9 FG%

  • Theo Maledon (rookie)

Season: 41 games, 8.7 PTS, 3.4 AST, 37.4 FG%

  • Isaiah Roby (sophomore season)

Season: 41 games, 9.1 PTS, 5.7 AST, 50.9 FG%

  • Moses Brown (7’2”, sophomore season)

Season: 18 games, 8.8 PTS, 59.6 FG%

  • Kenrich Williams

Career: 132 games, 5.7 PTS, 4.5 REB, 44.7 FG%

Season: 47 games, 7.2 PTS, 4.1 REB, 57.8 FG%

This is not poking fun at the Thunder because it is truly outstanding that they are still wining a decent amount of games when they should be folding. A team that has nothing to lose is scary to play. You will hear the Suns TV analyst Eddie Johnson talk about it all the time.

With 32 draft picks in their pocket and a starting line-up that is currently on the bench the franchise continues to entertain they fans with great play. The front office and coaching staff for the Thunder are going in the opposite direction the Suns went in in the last four to five years by losing on purpose.

Injuries

Mike Muscala (out), Darius Bazley (out), Ty Jerome (day-to-day), Lu Dort (out), SGA (out), Al Horford (out).


The Suns Report

I am happy with the Suns current roster and position in the standings. that is an understatement. I am very happy. Even with a few close games against inferior teams, learning to win close games is helping the Suns.

We have a Suns team right now that may look like they are playing with their food, but this is not anything they are trying to do on purpose. I think knowing that this is THE squad for the rest of the year, the Suns are trying to advertise themselves as a contender while also looking like they need more help.

Tonight's game against the Thunder or even the next game against the Houston Rockets are work-it-out games. They need to pretend that LeBron James or Anthony Davis are on the other side of the floor and prove something for a full 48 minutes to themselves and the Suns fans that they can handle business.

Before you know it, the playoffs will be here and currently picking the Suns to beat the “healthy” Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, or the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs is not looking promising. We all know, and they know, that there is a lot of work to do still. That is the exciting part. We are sitting pretty in the standings and the best is yet to come.

Injuries

Torrey Craig (day-to-day), Abdel Nadar (out), Frank Kaminsky (out)


Predictions

I would hate to predict a blow out win for the Suns, but I am saying this will be a blow out win. If not this game, then the next game vs the Rockets. A clicking-on-all -cylinders game is due.