FEB 4th Oklahoma City Thunder (31-17) @ Phoenix Suns (23-24) OGT
@ (31-17) vs (23-24)
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook traveling to the desert to gain higher ground before the playoffs.
Could Steve Nash, Gortat & co. stop them and get the improving Suns to the playoffs?
* The Suns have won EIGHT of their last 11 games overall, including THREE-straight.
* Phoenix has won NINE of its last 13 games.
* The Suns have won SIX of their last SEVEN home games.
* The Suns have won FOUR-straight games against teams with winning records, their longest such streak of the season. It includes wins over Portland, New York, Boston and New Orleans.
* The Suns have won SEVEN of their last 10 games against the Eastern Conference.
* The Suns have used 12 different starting lineups in 2010-11 (47 games) after using EIGHT in 82 games in 2009-10.
* …BUT DID YOU KNOW? The Suns current lineup starting lineup of NASH, CARTER, HILL, FRYE and LOPEZ, which coach Alvin Gentry has stated is his preferred lineup, owns a 8-4 (.667) record, the best record of any lineup Phoenix has started this season.
* The Suns are 10-8 (.556) with all three new additions in the lineup. VINCE CARTER made his debut Dec. 29.
* The Suns finished 8-7 (.533) in the month of January, the club’s first winning month in 2010-11.
* The Suns are 6-3 on the first night of a back-to-back.
* Russell Westbrook joins teammate Kevin Durant on the Western Conference squad, marking the first time the franchise has had a
pair of All-Stars since Gary Payton and Vin Baker in 1998.
*for 51.7 points per game, the Durant-Westbrook tandem trails LeBron James and Dwayne Wade of the
Miami Heat by three tenths of a point in the race for the NBA’s highest scoring duo.for 51.7 points per game, the Durant-Westbrook tandem trails LeBron James and Dwayne Wade of the
Miami Heat by three tenths of a point in the race for the NBA’s highest scoring duo.
* Oklahoma City is one of four teams in the NBA yet to experience a three-game losing streak.
* Durant has now reached the 40-point scoring plateau in three of
his last four outings. On the season, OKC is a perfect 5-0 when Durant hits the 40-point scoring mark.
* The Thunder are 14-3 in games played immediately after a loss.
Originally Posted by MATT BEARDMORE
Coming off his league-best fifth 40-point game of the season, Durant will try to help the Thunder avenge a 113-110 home loss to Phoenix on Dec. 19 that ended their season high-tying five-game winning streak.
Durant had 28 points and teammates Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green added 19 apiece in that matchup. The undermanned Suns were led by Grant Hill's season-high 30 points, while Steve Nash added 20 points and 11 assists.
Phoenix won without Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus, who were acquired a day earlier from Orlando. The Thunder will have to face all three Friday, and Gortat could be the toughest to cover.
The fourth-year center is backing up Robin Lopez, but Gortat is playing nearly twice as many minutes than his teammate over the last eight games and is averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds during that stretch.
Before scoring 19 with 11 boards in Wednesday's 92-77 victory over Milwaukee, Gortat had reached a career high in points in each of the three previous games.