Time: The Suns host the Thunder tonight at 7 at US Airways Center.
Records: Suns 13-26 (fifth in the Pacific Division) vs. Thunder 28-8 (first in the Northwest Division)
PG: Goran Dragic (14.2 points and 6.3 assists) vs. Russell Westbrook (21.8 points and 8.5 assists)
SG: P.J. Tucker (4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds) vs. Thabo Sefolosha (7.5 points and 4.0 rebounds)
SF: Jared Dudley* (12.1 points and 3.6 rebounds) vs. Kevin Durant (28.6 points and 7.7 rebounds)
PF: Luis Scola (13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds) vs. Serge Ibaka (14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds)
C: Marcin Gortat: (11.5 points and 8.9 rebounds) vs. Kendrick Perkins (4.2 points and 5.8 rebounds)
*- denotes that player may not play
As the Suns return to US Airways Center for their first home game in five outings, they face a Thunder team that boasts the best record in the NBA. The Thunder are not only first in the NBA in points and 3-point field goal percentage, but rank second in blocks.
They are also third in the league in overall field goal percentage.
“This team is a great team and a force to be reckoned with,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said of the Thunder. “They were in the NBA Finals last year. That’s all you need to know.”
Oklahoma City, which has won seven-straight games over Phoenix, received 30 points from forward Kevin Durant and 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists from Russell Westbrook in the last meeting between the two clubs on New Year’s Eve.
In that contest, it was a back-and-forth affair until about eight minutes left. At that point, the Thunder pulled away.
“With eight minutes to go in the game it was 85-87,” Gentry recalled. “Then we had some costly turnovers and Durant made some tough shots against us. This is still one of those games – the last time we played them – where we put ourselves in a position on the road where if we play eight good minutes, we have a chance to win.”
The Suns just returned from a four-game road trip where they finished 1-3. On Saturday, the Suns captured an encouraging win over the Bulls on the final game of the trip.
Not only did they get a game-high 22 points from power forward Luis Scola, but forward Michael Beasley came off the bench to total 20 points in 21 minutes on 10-of-14 shooting.
“I thought he played within the game that’s the key for him,” Gentry noted of Beasley. “I think when he plays within the game, and not really outside the box, (he’s at his best). I thought he took great shots, he took the ball to the basket and I thought he made good decisions.”
Suns swingman Jared Dudley sat out of Saturday’s contest against Chicago with a sprained wrist. The Suns co-captain was at shootaround today and will participate in warm-up before the game so he can see how it feels.
“He’ll try tonight and see what happens,” Gentry said.
If Dudley is too injured to play, shooting guard Shannon Brown will get the call to start.