2012-2013 Game 38 Preview: Thunder See the Setting Suns in Phoenix

Get ready for and old school post brawl. - Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After the Thunder's meeting with the Suns on New Year's Eve, things have just gotten worse for the team from the desert. They've gone 2-5 in the year of 2013, and are a game away from falling into last place in the Western Conference.

2012-2013 NBA Season
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The Oklahoma City Thunder (29-8)
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The Phoenix Suns (13-26)
January 14th, 2013
The US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
8:00 PM CST
Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Fox Sports Network Arizona
WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), KTAR 620 AM
Enemy Blogs: Bright Side Of The Sun, Valley of the Suns, Sun n' Gun
Previous Meetings: Jan 1st (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Goran Dragic
Thabo Sefolosha SG Shannon Brown
Kevin Durant SF P.J. Tucker
Serge Ibaka PF Luis Scola
Kendrick Perkins C Marcin Gortat

After the Thunder's meeting with the Suns on New Year's Eve, things have just gotten worse for the team from the desert. They've gone 2-5 in the year of 2013, and are a game away from falling into last place in the Western Conference. Despite the doom and gloom though, the two wins were quality victories against Philadelphia and Chicago. They've clearly got the tools to be competitive with anyone, but they just don't have the extra oompf to get them where they need to be.

The last matchup between the Thunder and Suns was the story of many Suns games. They failed to execute down the stretch, with their shooting percentage taking a huge dip in the fourth quarter. They also failed to give minutes to players who had the hot hand, and their offense really suffered as a result. Moreover, they couldn't push the break, so they had to constantly rely on their post players to do the work in a half-court offense.

But knowing what will happen tonight is anyone's guess, really. Luis Scola and Goran Dragic will likely remain the rocks of scoring, but outside of those two, anyone could really step up to the plate and make a solid contribution. In their win against the Bulls, Michael Beasley channeled his potential after two 0fers and scored 20. Really, there's lots of guys who are capable of that kind of feat, but just fluctuate wildly from night to night.

Regardless, barring any further injuries or tiredness from the back-to-back, tonight should be another solid Thunder victory. OKC's post defense has tightened up a lot since New Year's Eve, and they don't really have a defensive answer for Russell Westbrook. The only thing I might be weary of is the contribution of role players. Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha combined for 24 in the last Suns game, and I doubt they can put forth that type of performance again. Thus, somebody like Kevin Martin (or even DeAndre Liggins) is going to have to step up.

At the time of writing, there's no word on whether Thabo Sefolosha or Serge Ibaka will return to the floor tonight.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Phoenix Suns 99.

If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.

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