The Oklahoma City Thunder will leave the friendly confines of Oklahoma City, and travel to Phoenix to take on the Suns. The OKC Thunder will still be shorthanded in this contest, without their star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, their defensive mastermind in Lu Dort, Mike Muscala is out with an ankle injury, Darius Bazley continues to sit with a shoulder injury as we await his second half of the season debut, and Ty Jerome is still out with an ankle injury. This is the front end of a back-to-back for the Thunder, so being cautious with Jerome’s ankle injury makes sense given he suffered an ankle sprain in training camp which sidelined him for the first half of the season until he could join the Blue in the G-League Bubble.
Ty Jerome, the only player remaining from the Chris Paul swap this past offseason, will not make his long-awaited return to Phoenix. He is not the only one from that trade package out tonight, as former Thunder forward Abdel Nader is out with right knee soreness. The Suns will also miss center Frank Kaminsky as he is in the NBA Health and Safety Protocols, Torrey Craig will also miss this game for the Suns as he battles a sore knee.
Aleksej Pokusevski, who missed the game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday due to the Health and Safety Protocols, is no longer listed on the injury report. The Thunder’s 2020 First Round pick will be active for tonight’s game after missing the Raptors tilt.
Chris Paul will look to lead the surging Suns past the seven games under .500 Thunder. The Suns have won four straight, turning in an 8-2 record in their last ten matchups giving them the second-best record in the Western Conference, and the NBA as a whole thanks to a higher winning percentage than the Title favorite Nets.
The Thunder are 4-6 in their last ten and are getting set for a brutal back-to-back featuring two 9 p.m. tip-times against the Suns, and tomorrow against the Blazers. They will then return home for a massive “tank stretch” with tilts against the Pistons, Hornets, and Cavs three losses that could change the outlook of their draft pick, which currently features the doomsday scenario. That homestand will wrap up with a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
In their lone matchup so far this season, the Thunder earned a clutch time win over Chris Paul and the Suns, on the road taking care of business 102-97.
In this contest, the Thunder are 13 point underdogs, and while the Suns are a truly great regular season team, this Thunder team even with the Injuries has a knack for keeping pace in these games. OKC +13 is the bet of the day, with Svi Mykhailiuk being the Moneyball pick of the day to lead the team in three-pointers made.
It is going to be back-to-back late nights leading up to Easter Sunday as the Thunder play a pair of 9 p.m. contests today and tomorrow. Make sure you have plenty of coffee and take a pregame nap.
This story will be updated prior to tip-off with pregame quotes from Mark Daigneault when he talks to those of us in the media.