Tip-Off: 4 PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
PG Eric Bledsoe is a strong player on a weak team, and he averages 20.0 points, 5.4 assists, 5.4 rebounds per game, and 1.6 steals per game. Russell Westbrook has not been shooting well lately, and Bledsoe is a solid defender, so the point guard matchup in this game should be fun. Bledsoe had a decent game in Oklahoma City when the Suns and the Thunder met earlier this season, but he will likely come even more ready to play tonight again in front of the Thunder home crowd.
Keys to the Game
- Defend with Consistency: The Thunder defense has struggled mightily in the last two games (both losses), and the Suns are one of the higher-scoring teams in the NBA. Oklahoma City needs to figure out the kinks in the defensive scheme and figure out a way to shut down opponents.
- Take Good Shots: Oklahoma City has not shot the ball well lately, mostly due to poor shot selection. The Thunder has shot under 40% in the last two games, and that has contributed heavily to both losses. The offense will go as far as Russell Westbrook can take it, and his shot specifically has not been falling. Westbrook is a combined 14/44 during this two-game losing streak, so expect him to come out tonight ready to put up some points.
- Protect the Paint: While Phoenix is not as capable of being a dominant force in the paint as Oklahoma City is, the Suns flourish down low well enough. Phoenix is tied for 5th with the Thunder in the NBA in rebounds (45.8) and 9th in points in the paint (45.2 points per game). Oklahoma City leads the league in points in the paint. The Thunder needs to impose their power and dominate down low to get an edge and open the floor for some hopefully wide-open jump shots.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.