When: 4:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Paycom Center
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
Line: Suns -4.5
The Phoenix Suns hit the road in Oklahoma City on Sunday for what will be their fourth and final season series matchup against the Thunder. Phoenix currently leads the season series, 2-1.
The last time these teams met on March 19th, the Thunder pulled out a 124-120 comeback victory over the Suns led by 40 points from SGA. Devin Booker poured in 46 points in the loss.
Phoenix has won three straight and remains undefeated (5-0) with Kevin Durant active.
Oklahoma City lost to the Pacers 121-117 on Friday night, and they are clinging onto the final play-in spot with a one game lead over the Dallas Mavericks. This is a desperate team they will be facing with their backs against the playoff (play-in) wall.
- Chris Paul
- Devin Booker
- Josh Okogie
- Kevin Durant
- Deandre Ayton
- Josh Giddey
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Jalen Williams
- Luguentz Dort
- Jaylin Williams
- Chet Holmgren: out for season (foot)
- Kenrich Williams: out for season (wrist)
3 Things To Watch
Small Ball Attack
The Thunder play small lineups that are versatile with a plethora of players that can put the ball on the deck and get to the rim.
How Phoenix chooses to counter the smaller lineups will be the storyline in this one. Deandre Ayton will need to be active on the glass and in controlling the interior in general against the smaller team.
I also believe this is a game where Torrey Craig and Josh Okogie could combine for 6+ offensive rebounds with their activity on the glass against a smaller squad. The activity will need to be contagious, because every possession counts during the stretch run. It’s all about developing good in-game habits.
Phoenix should be able to control the paint with two mobile seven footers in Deandre Ayton and Kevin Durant.
Free Throw Battle
Last time these teams met, OKC won the free throw battle by a wide margin. The Thunder shot 36 free throws (SGA had 19 alone) compared to Phoenix’s 24. Part of that can be attributed to tick tack calls, but the Suns truly struggled to stay in front of Shai. Getting downhill and attacking the rim while seeking out contact is a major part of SGA’s game. Phoenix will need all hands on deck to contain him.
OKC also outscored the Suns by 16 points in the second half, in a game that the Suns had complete control in, they unraveled.
Head Coach Monty Williams was adamant in his presser following the win over Denver that they are still working out the details as a group. In order to pull off a win against a desperate Thunder squad on the road, they’ll need to be sure to not take their foot off the gas and finish strong.
"We know we have to play at a high level every time we step on the floor as far as focus and attention to detail."— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 1, 2023
️ Coach Monty Williams speaks on the attention and tension of the team with the regular season winding down
Last Night's Media: https://t.co/4xGiQp3ypY pic.twitter.com/obDmWgLq6n
Devin & Kevin
The dynamic duo of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant combined for 57 points on 35 shots in Friday night’s victory over Denver. This wasn’t their best performance together yet, but it was a solid one that felt seamless considering the circumstances.
KD BOOK— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 1, 2023
Durant: 30 PTS, 4 REB, 2 BLK, 1 STL
Booker: 27 PTS, 6 AST, 2 REB, 1 STL pic.twitter.com/p584xkeG6V
As they continue to develop chemistry and learn to play off one another, I believe night’s like this will be the status quo for the duo. The Thunder will likely deploy Lou Dort on one of Booker or Durant, and I’m curious to see who they will put on the other.
Suns win it, 115-113 in a nail biter.