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Preview 5 of 82: Suns @ Thunder

Preview 5 of 82: Suns @ Thunder

Time: 6:00 PM CST

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma

The Thunder (0-4) are back at it tonight after a slow week, hosting the Phoenix Suns (1-4) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder are still searching for their first win of the season, and will need to play much better on both ends of the floor if they want to shake off their worst start since relocating to OKC.

Tip-off is at 6:00 PM CST on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 12.5-point favorites.

Injury Report

Thunder: Andre Roberson (OUT)

Suns: Devin Booker (OUT)


What to Watch For

Wing Rotation Shaping Up: Though Terrance Ferguson has remained the starter through four games, coach Billy Donovan has begun to favor rookie Hamidou Diallo in key moments. In the last two games, Diallo has played a combined 41 minutes to Ferguson’s 33. Diallo has outplayed Ferguson as well, averaging 6.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG on 53% from the field on the year. Ferguson, on the other hand, has had a cold start to the year as Andre Roberson’s replacement, averaging 2.0 PPG and 2.0 RPG on 19% shooting from the field. The answer is clear here. Here’s hoping Hamidou Diallo will continue to see the floor when it matters most for the Thunder moving forward. If there ever was a night to toy with the rotations, though, it would be against the Devin Booker-less, 1-and-4 Phoenix Suns. However, with the Thunder currently winless a week-and-a-half into the season, playing around with the rotation is a luxury they can not afford.

Suns without their Brightest Star: Devin Booker has been dealing with a hamstring strain suffered in the Suns’ game vs. the Lakers on Wednesday, and will be out for the second night in a row tonight vs. the Thunder. The third-year star has averaged 27.8 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.5 RPG on 51% from the field, 39% from three-point range and 82% from the stripe in four games. With Booker out of the equation, the Thunder’s workload on defense tonight just got much lighter.

Adams vs. Ayton: With Booker out tonight, DeAndre Ayton, the first pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, will become more of a focal point in the Suns’ offense, and it’ll be Steven Adams’ task to slow him down. The 7’1″, 250-pound behemoth has averaged 17.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 4.0 APG on 70% from the field and 85% from the stripe. If Adams can bottle #22 up in the paint, it will make the Thunder’s path to their first win of the season all the more simple. This will be an entertaining battle to keep an eye on down low.

Newlook starting five: Billy Donovan decided to shake up his starting lineup against the Celtics on Thursday, replacing Patrick Patterson, who has struggled to this point, with Jerami Grant. Grant had his best game of the season so far, putting up 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in 31 minutes of action. He also kept the defense honest from the perimeter, making one of his three three-point tries. Grant had the second best +/- of any of the starters, though, granted, it was a rating of -5.