The Oklahoma City Thunder (31-17) visit the Phoenix Suns (23-24) in a game where both team are very active on the offensive end. The NBA odds makers have the Thunder -2 faves.
In their last game, Oklahoma City defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 104-93. This was the Kevin Durant show as Durant collected 43 points, 10 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists. The second highest scorer on the team was Jeff Green with 12 points. Regardless, it was enough for the victory.
The Phoenix Suns who are looking to reach the .500 mark have won 3 consecutive games. In their last game, the Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in a surprisingly low scoring game, 92-77. The deciding factor in the game was a strong first half. Marcin Gortat led the Suns with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Channing Frye had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. It was a somewhat disappointing outing for superstar Steve Nash who had 9 points, 13 assists but had 9 turnovers.
Vince Carter Is in the Dog House
In his last game, Vince Carter was held to just 2 points and 2 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play. This is Carter's fourth time in eight games that he has produced single digits in scoring. It could possibly a nagging injury issue but the coach isn't thrilled with Vince at the moment and his lack of playing time was the result.
Marcin Gortat Has Been a Star Lately
Gortat is getting more playing time with the Suns and is averaging 10.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 25 minutes of play. Gortat has really picked it up as of late, scoring in double figures in 7 of 8 games. Gortat is averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds per game in his last 3 outings. Kevin Durant has been unstoppable lately but Gortat can possibly be a problem for the Thunder.
Steve Nash is Well Suited For Playing the Thunder
This will be a very fast paced game. The Suns only scored 92 points in their previous game which they won but they'll be forced to play a very quick tempo game against the Thunder. Russell Westbrook is going to be a tough matchup for Nash. For his age, Nash is in top physical condition and still performing at a high level. On the season, Steve Nash averages 16.8 points and 11.1 assists per game. Nash has really been distributing the ball well and more often lately. His assist total has gradually increased in the past month. Nash is also shooting 52.6% from the field. He's just an amazing shooter and in a close game, Nash is nearly automatic from the line at 92.6%.
Kevin Durant Is Highly Productive
Durant has scored 40 or more points in three of his last four games. He also leads the league with a 29.3 point per game average. In these four games, Durant is shooting an amazing 53.7% from the field. It's very difficult to maintain a high shooting percentage when a player is as active as Kevin Durant on the offensive end.
Westbrook Will Look For a Bounce Back Performance
Expect multi talented Thunder guard Russell Westbrook to have a strong performance in this game. Westbrook consistently does it all. He's averaging 22.4 points, 8.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds for the season. In his last game, Westbrook had a subpar performance with 10 points and 8 assists. Even though Durant has been putting up huge numbers, he needs support. Steve Nash plays the same style of basketball that Westbrook plays. Westbrook is super quick in his approach to the basket and will have many opportunities against a Suns team that plays right into his game. Westbrook will come up strong in this game.
Oklahoma City is looking to avenge a 113-110 home loss to the Suns earlier this season which snapped a 5 game winning streak.. It will be a tough task. Phoenix has won 8 out of their last 11 games and only allowed 83.3 points per game in their last 3 games.
The Thunder are a 2 point favorite according to SBRodds.com and the total for the game is 216. This would be an easy over but the Suns defense has been tough lately. Oklahoma City has played over the total in 29 out of 48 games this season and Phoenix games have been over in 24 out of 47. For Phoenix, its partially due to the fact that the total for their games are set very high.
Outcome of the Game
I'm going to stay away from the total. As I stated, Phoenix gives up a ton of points per game but has been very strong in their last 3 games, allowing a mere 83.3 points per game. The only way that I would touch the total is with an over but it's a risk. The side looks like the better wager. Although Phoenix has been playing well, Oklahoma City is a much better team and Kevin Durant is virtually unstoppable lately. This game is in Phoenix but 2 points isn't a lot to lay for the Thunder in this spot. Durant and Westbrook will be able to break through the recently tougher Suns defense. Take the Thunder to cover the spread.
Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -2