Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15, 20-9 away) @ Phoenix Suns (35-25, 21-12 home) 03/06- 9:00PM EST
Line: OKC -6.0
The Oklahoma City Thunder look to keep rolling as they go into Phoenix in search of their fourth straight win and 12th consecutive victory over the Suns in a Western Conference showdown on Thursday night.
With star Russell Westbrook back in the lineup and appearing to be in game shape following his knee injury, he has team poised and ready to make a strong push into the playoffs.
OKC (46-15) came under fire when Westbrook returned to the lineup and the Thunder dropped three straight at home, but they now appear to have found their game once again lighting up the scoreboard for an average of 118.0 points per game during their win streak.
Westbrook recorded a triple-double (13 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) in the Thunder’s 125-92 spanking of the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, achieving the feat in the smallest amount of time in 59 years.
“I’m just trying to get my groove back,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to do that in such in a short amount of time. It was fun.”
As good as the Thunder are without Westbrook, he is the man that makes everybody better and makes them a great and dangerous team and is the key to getting the Thunder back into the Finals in a talented and dangerous Western Conference.
With Westbrook back into a groove, that spells trouble for the Phoenix Suns (35-25) who are looking to snap an 11-game losing streak at the hands of the Thunder with Westbrook leading the charge averaging 23.0 points, 7.5 assists with a 49.4 shooting percentage.
For Phoenix, they are still a good team but seem to have fallen off the grid a little without the star point guard Eric Bledsoe, who’s been out since Dec. 30 with a knee injury. Bledsoe has starting practicing once again and is expected back in the coming weeks which is a welcome relieve with backup guard Leandro Barbosa out for the next six weeks with a fractured hand which he injured in Tuesday’s 104-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The challenge now will be… can the Suns keep it together until then?
“Other guys will to step up,” coach Jeff Hornacek said.
The Suns (35-25) are 2-3 in their last five games and failed to take advantage of a home heavy stretch that will see them play 12 of 15 in Phoenix after Thursday’s contest. 15 of their last 22 games will be played on the road and they will need to find their defense if they want any chance of making a strong playoff run.
Oklahoma is 1-0 so far against the Suns after posting a 103-96 win way back on Nov. 3 and with two teams that appear to be headed into opposite directions, the oddsmakers have made the visiting Thunder a (minus -6.0) point favorite but get the latest odds up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.
I too have to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and just feel the Thunder have too much fire power to leave Phoenix with a loss on Thursday night as it will be hard to go against the likes of Kevin Durant, Westbrook and the rest of the talented Thunder.
Prediction/Pick- Oklahoma City
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter