NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 4th (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (31-17) at Phoenix Suns (23-24), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The improving Phoenix Suns will close out a five-game homestand this evening versus the Oklahoma City Thunder at US Airways Center.
After losing to Charlotte in the opener of the residency, the Suns have ripped off three straight wins and are coming off Wednesday's 92-77 beating of the Milwaukee Bucks in the desert. Marcin Gortat posted 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Grant Hill notched 16 points in a winning effort.
Jared Dudley had 15 points, Channing Frye added 14 points and 13 boards and Steve Nash ended with nine points and 13 assists for Phoenix, which has won eight of 11 games overall and is 3-1 on the homestand.
"It was a good win," said Phoenix head coach Alvin Gentry. "I think, defensively, we're getting better. The last 10 games we have given up less than 45 percent shooting; that puts us in the top 10 and I thought we started out the game really focused and doing what we needed to do."
Phoenix is 14-10 in the desert this season.
Oklahoma City will play two straight and four of its next fives games on the road and recorded a 104-93 victory over the New Orleans Hornets the last time out on Wednesday at home.
Kevin Durant pumped in 43 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out five assists for the Thunder, who went 2-1 on a three-game homestand and won for the eighth time in 12 tries. Durant made 14-of-19 shots and was a thorn in the side of the Hornets.
"Taking what the defense gave me," said Durant, who has scored 40 or more points in three of his last four games. "They played zone a bit, so I was able to get some threes but playing that midrange game, pulling up at the free throw line, getting into the lane a bit - once they started to help a little bit more I found my teammates. I've just got to do a better job of finding them and continue to work hard on my shots and my overall game."
Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively, in a winning effort. The Thunder will also visit Utah before returning home to face Memphis. They will then hit the road against the Kings and Warriors, and are 13-10 away from home this season.
The Thunder outrebounded the Hornets by a 44-22 margin and outscored them, 32-17, in the third quarter. OKC is now 21-5 this season when outrebounding the opposition. Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha is questionable for Friday's game with a sprained left knee.
Oklahoma City dropped a 113-110 decision versus Phoenix on Dec. 19 this season at home and has lost 15 of the past 20 meetings in this series. The Thunder have dropped seven of nine trips to the Valley of the Sun.
02/04 10:47:30 ET