The trade dealine has now passed, and its back to business. The Oklahoma City Thunder make the travel west, to Phoenix, for the first time this season. The Thunder were all set to win their first meeting of the season until Steve Nash took over the game and lead the Suns to a 99-98 comeback win. Their next matchup was in late December, a game in which the Thunder got behind and spent the whole game unable to catch up. So tonight is their first matchup in Phoenix, and it comes with quite a few story lines to talk about.
First up, as you may have heard, the Suns fired head coach Terry Porter at the All-Star break. His replacement, Gentry, was an assistant during the D'Antoni era, and vowed to return to the fast-paced style of offense that worked so well for the Suns for years. In two games since taking over, I'd say its working pretty well, as the Suns have scored 140 points in BOTH games. The other side to that story is that both games were against the Clippers, so take that with a grain of salt. One thing is clear, the Suns are back to running and gunning, and you can expect more of that tonight, against the Thunder, who have been more than happy to ablidge a torrid pace this season.
Some other big news in regards to Phoenix is the loss of Amare Stoudemire, not to trade as has been rumored for weeks, but to an injury to his eye which was operated on this morning. The surgery is supposed to keep Amare out for a minimum of 8 weeks, but that number could be small as it all depends on how it heals.
Its not yet been announced (as far as I can tell) whether or not the Thunders two new acquisitions will be with the team in Phoenix or not, but even if they do, I doubt they'd see any playing time. Head Coach Scott Brooks has been pretty conservative in terms of getting new players on the floor quickly, preferring to allow them time to acclimate themselves with the team and their teamates through practice. Although I don't expect Malik Rose to have any huge on the court impact, I am very interested to see what Thabo Sefolosha can bring to this team defensively.
Should be a fun one tonight. Look for a new Game thread tonight for Live Commenting.