Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Home Against the Rising Suns

Tonight, the 9-5 Phoenix Suns come to town to take on our 1-13 Thunder. The Thunder will be looking to continue to grow from the changes and positive performance that came on Saturday while the Suns will be looking to leave town with an easy win. I'm willing to let the Suns leave with a win, albeit not an easy one, if the improvements we saw in the last game continue.

The Suns are averaging 100.0 points a game on league-leading 49.7% field goal shooting. The Suns have a pretty balanced attack with 8 of their players averaging 8.8 or more points per game. All the starters but one (Raja Bell) are averaging double digits, and Bell is close at 9.8. With so many scoring options and the Thunder's weak defense, look for the Suns to rack up the points. If this one's not a total blowout, and the Phoenix starters play most of the game, look for the Suns to put up at least 110 points.

For the Thunder, it will be interesting to see how Kevin Durant's second game back at his collegiate position of small forward goes. Hopefully returning to the familiar position will bring some consistency as Durant, and Jeff Green for that matter, has been all over the map when it comes to field goal percentage. If Durant and Green could just settle out in the mid-40% game after game, it'd go a long way to helping the team out.

Nick Collison at center suffers from the same inconsistency and seems to play well when Durant and Green play poorly and vise-versa. It'd be nice if the three could get it together to make for a strong frontcourt. Speaking of center, you have to feel a little sorry for Johan Petro who went from starting center to no playing time with the coaching change. Granted he wasn't doing anything spectacular, but he'll see if he continues to ride the bench in the Scott Brooks era.

As much as the inconsistency of those three hurts, at least each of that trio is average above 40% from the field. The Thunder is not getting much out of their starting point guard Earl Watson, newly appointed starting shooting guard Damien Wilkins, and sixth man Russell Westbrook. All three are average sub 35% field goal shooting with Watson leading the way at 34.8%. Westbrook takes the third most shots per game but only hits 31.9% of them. Watson and Wilkins combined to shoot 42.9% Sunday against the Hornets, but Westbrook pulled the overall guard percentage down to 37.5. Weaver (what is up with all the guard's last names starting with a W?) is not ready for more playing time, but someone from the guard ranks needs to step it up.

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