The Oklahoma City Thunder look to pick up some more momentum in the desert after a promising performance against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. The Thunder knocked off the lifeless Raptors by a score of 113-103. I want to give the Thunder credit, and it certainly wasn’t a bad performance, but the Raptors have looked completely disjointed over the past few weeks.
In any event, if the Thunder can play defensively like that more often, they’ll at least be able to stay around in games sometimes. The Thunder went into that game as 7.5-point underdogs. I’m not sure who would lay 7.5 points on the Raptors right now, and the Thunder were able to beat them down further. This is the same Raptors team that recently lost to the Detroit Pistons.
The last three wins for OKC have been against the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Raptors. No win is a bad win, but all three of these teams should be looking towards the lottery. The Raptors are 18-30 now, and only a game away from falling to second-last in the East, so no, it’s not outrageous to refer to them as a potential lottery team. They might as well tank into the ground at this point.
The Rockets are 13-34, while the Timberwolves are 12-36 on the season. They’re No. 15 and No. 14 in the West. Their most recent “quality” win was against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 14 in a 128-122 win. The absence of Shai-Gilgeous Alexander on the floor is really noticeable for the Thunder. They won with their defense against the Raptors, but lacked a scoring threat to really blow things open.
That’s alright against the Rockets, Timberwolves, and Raptors of the NBA, but they could falter against a team like the Suns tonight. The Suns are on a four-game winning streak, and have wins in seven of their previous eight outings. They are coming off a 121-116 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Chicago had the Suns on the ropes, but couldn’t finish them off. The top of the West belongs to the Utah Jazz at 36-11, though the much improved Suns are only three games back, and have a 2.5-game advantage on the Clippers for second. Head below for our free Thunder vs. Suns pick on April 2, 2021.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns NBA Betting Odds:
Thunder vs. Suns Prediction:
The Thunder have been doing their best without the services of their leading scorer, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. Without Alexander in the lineup, the Thunder are without their go-to option on the floor. Alexander is averaging 23.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. Al Horford is the next biggest contributor for the Thunder with 14.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, but he will be inactive for the remainder of the season.
Luguentz Dort is really coming along nicely for the Thunder, though he’s been dealing with a concussion recently. Dort out removes a 12.6-point scoring small forward from the starting lineup for the Thunder. The 21-year-old suffered a concussion against the Boston Celtics in a 111-94 loss on Saturday. For Dort to return to the court, he must be cleared by the NBA.
With Alexander, Dort, and Horford all off the floor, the Thunder’s highest-scorer is newcomer Svi Mykhailiuk at 10.9 points per game. The rest of the Thunder active tonight have recorded less than 10 points per game. George Hill and Hamidou Diallo were both shipped out at the trade deadline, while Darius Bazley is officially ruled out for Friday night with a shoulder injury.
Guard depth against the Suns is going to be a major problem this evening. The Suns’ defense has been incredibly active this season, and is going to give the Thunder a lot of headaches in Phoenix. The Suns are fourth in the NBA with 107.3 points against per game. Even when OKC has been healthy this season, the offense wasn’t completely clicking. They’re 26th with 106.3 points per game, and shooting just 73.6% from the free-throw line.
The Suns on the offensive end can run up a score, too. They have recorded 113.7 points per game for 11th in the league. Their ability from the field has been one of the best in the league, as the Suns are shooting 48.7%. They should be able to feast on an inexperienced lineup tonight. The Thunder have conceded 112.1 points per game in the 2020-21 campaign for 18th in the NBA. If the Suns are interested tonight, they should steamroll the Thunder for a 121-105 win.