After a well deserved couple of days off following a tough loss in Denver, the Thunder are in Phoenix to finish up the road trip. The last time they met the Suns, Phoenix entered the game with a 30-23 record, and as you can see in the title, are 34-31 now. What is worse for the Suns, is that 1 of those four wins came against this Thunder team, meaning after that game, they have gone just 3-8 since, and have fallen out of the top 8 in the race for the playoffs. They now trail the Mavericks by 4 and 1/2 games, and have lost six games in a row. For the Thunder, they may get another boost tonight on the offensive end, you know, the one we've been waiting for...
That's right! It looks like Kevin Durant could be making his return tonight in Phoenix. In fact, Kevin, aka KSmoove35, posted a tweet about 21 hours ago on Twitter saying this, "icing my ankle. hopefully i can bump tomorrow....shout out to everybody. much love" from his mobile device. Everyone seems to think this could be the game where Durant makes his return. I'm still not 100% certain, but all signs are heading that direction. The only way we won't see him tonight is if he suffers some kind of setback, or the team has decided to be extra cautious and want to wait until the team returns home to the Ford Center on Monday.
They key for the Thunder tonight, is not to get caught up in that run and gun style of offense the Suns have returned to. We all can see quite clearly that the reason this team has gone 5-2 over their last 7 games (outside of an easy schedule), has been the teams stellar defensive play. Tonight they will need to take their time on offense, and keep the Suns from pushing the ball up court and taking quick shots as much as possible. If they can clamp down defensively and disrupt the run and gun, there is no reason to think they can't head back home having won 6 of their last 8 games.
It will be fun to watch this new found defensive minded Thunder team with an injection of Kevin Durant. They got Jeff Green back earlier in the week as well, and the way this team is playing plus these two guys, should equal even better play. Around the net, people are becoming quick to point out the teams record without Durant, like its his fault or something that the team is losing. Those people are idiots, KD is already one of the best players in the game, and he in no way makes this team worse. All he does is add to the spread on the table, and with him back in there combined with all the role players stepping up in his absense, could lead to a much more cohesive team oriented style of basketball, which is good for KD, and the team. Finally opposing teams will have to pay other players attention as well as KD, opening up the offensive end just a little more than he may have been used to this season. Scary thoughts.
Looking forward to getting back in to action tonight. Hope you guys enjoyed the Live Blog last night from the 66ers game. You could be seeing Shaun Livingston in a Thunder uniform in the future. That guy has great court vision, and is showing a tremendous proficiency at getting others involved. Something the Thunder lack while RW0 goes through some growing pains learning to run the point. Shaun could eventually be a bench player who can come in and get others involved when the offense starts to stagnate. Of course these thoughts are all pretty premature considering the guy has only played in 3 games with Tulsa, but he's impressed thus far with his sharp passing ability and team first style of play.
Join us tonight for the Live Commenting Thread at 9pm Central. Thank God this is Saturday, otherwise, there is no way I could make it through the whole game without passing out. Don't forget to check out the opponent perspective over at Bright Side of the Sun, a truly fantastic Phoenix Suns Blog.