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Game 17 Pregame Primer: Thunder (7-9) @ Suns (8-7)

Game 17 Pregame Primer: Thunder (7-9) @ Suns (8-7)

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8PM @ Phoenix Suns Arena, Fox Sports Oklahoma ?

Projected starting lineups:

Oklahoma CityPhoenix
PG: Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderPG: Chris Paul
SG: George HillSG: Devin Booker
SF: Lu DortSF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Darius BazleyPF: Jae Crowder
C: Al HorfordC: Deandre Ayton

Live tweeting & commenting:

Three big things:

The student versus the teacher.  As Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) wrote the other day, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul developed a close relationship last season. But this season, SGA has fully come into his own as the Thunder’s leading scorer and playmaker. This will be the first time Shai and CP3 have met each other since CP3 was traded to Phoenix, so has the student passed the teacher?

Chris Paul the Closer?  Last season, Paul was one of the league’s best in clutch time, as the Thunder were one of the league’s best in close games. This season, the Suns struggle in the clutch (4-6 record in games with a margin of 5 points or less over the final five minutes), and have the worst fourth-quarter offense in the NBA. OKC, on the flip side, has excelled, possessing the 7th-best record in the clutch-time games.

The Road Well Traveled.  OKC wraps a five-game road trip tonight, going just 1-3 over the first four. Until this latest road trip, OKC was 5-1 away from Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder have shown they are comfortable as the visitor and have a chance tonight to improve on their strong start with a victory in Phoenix.