Tip Off: Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 9:00 PM CST
Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
After a well deserved eight days off, the Thunder will return to action tonight against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns dismantled the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday winning a low scoring rout 86-69 all while giving Shaq the night off. That result does not bode well for OKC as the Thunder lost a close one against the Clippers in their last game.
The games tomorrow and Friday night are the Thunder's last two of the preseason, and picking up a win in either of the games will go a long way towards building confidence for the upcoming season. As usual, a win is not expected but keeping both games close is a realistic goal.
A big question for the Thunder will be: Who's going to play? Projected starters Jeff Green and Nick Collision both have minor injuries. Does Carlesimo sit them both out to let them heal and be ready for the regular season at the expense of less chemistry among the starters? Desmond Mason and Johan Petro both seem ready to go if either of Green or Collision respectively aren't. I think we have got to let the expected starting five start against Phoenix, play out at least the first few minutes, and then pull both Green and Collision and limit their playing time from that point forward.
The Suns shoot and hit a much higher percentage of three pointers than OKC, so it's going to be imperative that the Thunder not dig a hole early in this one. The Thunder managed to stay even with the Rockets and the Clippers after the first quarter, and they need to do the same with Phoenix. In addition, they will need to out-rebound and out-shoot the Suns from the field if they want to have any chance to win or stay in this one.