3 min read

Preview 13 of 82: Suns @ Thunder

Preview 13 of 82: Suns @ Thunder

Time: 7:00 PM CST

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Game Notes: Thunder / Suns

With their seven-game winning streak snapped on Saturday night in Dallas, the Thunder (7-5) are looking to get back to their winning ways tonight in Oklahoma City — taking on Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns (2-10) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Russell Westbrook is expected to miss his fourth consecutive contest, so it will again be up to Paul George, Steven Adams, and Dennis Schroder to carry the Thunder in the absence of the former MVP.

Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are nine-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.

Injury Report


  • Russell Westbrook: Out — Ankle
  • Andre Roberson: Out — Knee


  • N/A

Probable Starters

Suns: Isaiah Canaan, Devin Booker, Trevor Ariza, TJ Warren, DeAndre Ayton


What to Watch For

Thunder Defense. After getting hit for 111 points on Saturday night in Dallas, the Thunder defense gets an opportunity at redemption tonight against Phoenix. The Suns come in averaging an NBA-worst 101.2 points per game, and shoot 33 percent from long range — tied for 22nd in the league. Devin Booker poses the biggest obstacle, as he averages 24.9 PPG and is a threat to go for 40+ every time he steps on the floor. If the Thunder can limit Booker, that will go a long way toward picking up the win.

On the Boards. Phoenix enters tonight tied for 26th in the NBA on the boards, grabbing 41.8 per game. The Thunder are fresh off a game that saw them grab a franchise-best 26 offensive rebounds — and should be able to control the glass yet again in this one.

Rookie & The Vet. The DeAndre Ayton/Steven Adams match-up will be interesting to watch, as Big Kiwi gets his first crack at the no. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Ayton is averaging 16.1 points and 10.9 rebounds thus far in his rookie season. Adams is off to his best season yet, averaging 14.5 points and 10.7 rebounds. While Ayton is certainly formidable despite being just 20-years-old, Adams has been outstanding against opposing bigs through the first 12 games. I’d expect him to get the better of the young man tonight in OKC.

Suns’ Third Banana. While Booker and Ayton get more attention nationally, TJ Warren is another player to watch out for when trying to defend the Suns. The fourth-year forward is averaging 16 PPG and recently returned from a two-game absence to score 29 points against Boston and 25 points against the Pelicans. He’s hitting 47.5 percent from downtown on nearly four attempts per contest — if George gets preoccupied with trying to defend Booker, Warren is capable of getting hot and carrying the load.

Offensive Bounce Back: The Thunder’s offensive inconsistencies are well-documented at this point, but they’ll need to do a much better job tonight than they did in Dallas on Saturday. The Thunder shot just 39 percent from the field against the Mavericks, hitting 9-of-34 from long range — an abysmal 26.5 percent.  Against a Suns defense that gives up a little more than 114 PPG (24th in the NBA), look for the Thunder to come out aggressive and try to get the ball moving. They’ve averaged just 13.5 assists over the last two games, which is inexcusable even when Westbrook is missing from the lineup.

Nick Gallo’s game day report: