COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 6th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (55-20) at Phoenix Suns (45-31), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder started a four-game road trip on a sour note and aim to get even against the Phoenix Suns Sunday night at US Airways Center.
The Thunder kicked off the jaunt with Friday's 111-107 loss at Houston. Kevin Durant may have hit the 25-point mark for a 40th straight game, but it wasn't enough to help his team in the Western Conference standings.
Durant scored 28 points on 7-of-19 shooting and also finished with 12 rebounds and six assists. Durant, who missed a potential tying 3-point shot in the final minute, matched Michael Jordan's career-long streak by scoring at least 25 points in 40 straight games.
Jordan did it back in 1986-87 and Durant can break the mark Sunday. Durant last failed to score 25 or more points on Jan. 5 versus Boston and the NBA's leading scorer (32.1 ppg) is averaging 34.7 points during the streak. Oscar Robertson had a 46-game run back in 1963-64 and Wilt Chamberlain turned the trick in all 80 regular-season games of the 1961-62 campaign.
Serge Ibaka scored 27 points, Reggie Jackson netted 17 and Caron Butler added 13 off the bench in the loss for Oklahoma City, which fell for just the third time in the last 12 games and sits 3 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Thunder are 23-13 away from home and will also visit Sacramento and Los Angeles (Clippers).
Phoenix is fighting for its playoff life and sits even with Memphis for the eighth seed in the West, just a half-game behind Dallas and two in back of Golden State with six games left.
The Suns have won nine of their last 12 games and ended a two-game slide with Friday's 109-93 victory at Portland. Gerald Green scored 32 points and Eric Bledsoe dropped a career-high 30 to lead the Suns, while Goran Dragic netted 19 points and Miles Plumlee pulled down 16 rebounds in the win.
"We just had a thing called determination I guess," said Bledsoe. "Everyone knew that if we lost this game it would be a little tougher on us going forward."
Phoenix erased a 10-point deficit in the third quarter and improved to 38-13 when scoring 100 or more points. The Suns hope to make at least 50 percent of their shots Sunday and are 19-0 this season when doing so.
After the Suns host Oklahoma City, they will hit the road for three games against New Orleans, San Antonio and Dallas. The Suns are 25-14 in the desert.
The Suns and Thunder have split two meetings this season with each team prevailing on the home floor. Phoenix snapped an 11-game slide in this series on March 6 with a 128-122 victory, but is still only 3-13 in the last 16 matchups with OKC.
Oklahoma City has won six of seven trips to the Valley of the Sun.
04/06 10:34:35 ET