NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 31st (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (1-2) at Oklahoma City Thunder (4-0), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder hit the hardwood tonight hoping to stay unbeaten when they play host to a Phoenix Suns club fresh off its first victory of the season.
Kevin Durant kept the Thunder unblemished when he buried a long three-pointer at the buzzer on Thursday, lifting Oklahoma City to a thrilling 104-102 victory over the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.
Durant's game-winning shot off an inbounds pass on the right side came after a defensive miscue in which he left Vince Carter open for a three-pointer to give Dallas a 102-101 lead with 1.4 seconds left.
But an Oklahoma City timeout was as long as Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs had to think about getting their first win of the season. Instead, they became the first NBA champs to start 0-3 since the 1969-70 Boston Celtics.
And the 4-0 Thunder, who shot 58.7 percent, got to deliver a heartbreaker to the team that knocked them off in the Western Conference Finals last season.
Durant scored 30 points with 11 rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 16 points one day after the teammates were reported to have gotten into a shouting match on the sideline during a 98-95 win over Memphis. Serge Ibaka also scored 16.
"Kevin did leave Vince Carter, so it was nice for him to get redemption," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He came back and hit a big shot."
The Suns, meanwhile, opened a quick two-game road trip in New Orleans on Friday with an impressive 93-78 win. Hakim Warrick netted a game-high 18 points, while Steve Nash added seven points and dished out 12 assists to lead Phoenix in that one.
Jared Dudley finished with 16 points, Marcin Gortat had 12 and Channing Frye had 10 to go with 16 rebounds for the Suns.
"I think the whole team was outstanding today," said Gortat. "We had a lot of energy and we were focused on what we were doing. My belief is we will keep playing like that."
The Thunder have won three straight and four of their past five meetings with Phoenix. The Suns, however, have taken four of six games in OKC since the Thunder franchise moved there from Seattle prior to the 2008-09 season.
12/31 10:37:35 ET