|2012-2013 NBA Season|
|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|
|Bright Side Of The Sun, Valley of the Suns, Sun n' Gun|
|Previous Meetings: Jan 1st (Thunder Lead Season Series 1-0)|
|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.