NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 30th (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (49-24) at Phoenix Suns (36-37), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The sun is quickly setting in Phoenix but things are just getting started for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Northwest Division-leading Thunder aim for their second straight 50-win season tonight when they visit a fading Suns team that is in 10th place in the Western Conference, a virtually insurmountable 4 1/2 games behind eighth place Memphis with just nine games to play.
Oklahoma City won its fourth straight game in thrilling fashion on Tuesday when Russell Westbrook's lone point in overtime, a free throw with 11.4 seconds remaining, was enough to lift the Thunder over the Warriors, 115-114.
Westbrook finished with 15 points, nine assists and eight rebounds while Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 39 points, including eight of Oklahoma City's nine points in the extra frame as the Thunder won their eighth overtime game this season, one short of the NBA record set by Sacramento in 2000-01.
"We knew what we had to do," said Durant. "We didn't want to give this thing away. It was a hard-fought victory for us."
Serge Ibaka added 19 points, eight boards and three blocks for the Thunder, who pushed their lead to five games over idle Denver atop the Northwest Division and the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
At 49-24, Oklahoma City is on the verge of winning 50 in consecutive seasons for the first time since turning the trick from 1992-93 through 1997-98 when the franchise was known as the Seattle SuperSonics. The Thunder finished 50-32 in 2009-10.
Things aren't nearly as rosy for the Suns, who made it all the way to the Western Conference finals last season but have faltered in 2010-11 without star forward Amar'e Stoudemire, who bolted for New York in the offseason.
The Suns lost their third straight on Tuesday in Sacramento when Marcus Thornton made the go-ahead three-pointer with 53.4 seconds remaining, as the Kings took down Phoenix, 116-113.
Channing Frye finished with 21 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, while Jared Dudley also chipped in 21 points. Marcin Gortat tallied 17 points and 11 boards for Phoenix.
"They played well down the stretch and they made shots," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "We had good looks at the basket that didn't go down. They converted on the shots they needed to. We just can't turn the ball over. We turned the ball over at the most inopportune times. They ended up getting easy baskets and didn't have to work for them."
The Thunder have taken three of their past four games with Phoenix.
03/30 10:48:39 ET