Pre-game notes: Thunder at Suns


PHOENIX — A few pre-game notes and quotes live from US Airways Center courtesy of Suns head coach Alvin Gentry:

  • On the Thunder: “They play extremely hard, they play with a lot of energy and you know the only thing that has hurt them right now is that they’ve been young and they haven’t been able to finish games. But they’ve been in a lot of games that a year from now, they’ll win those, too. … Other than being young, they’re a very strong team and they’re very capable of beating anyone. Let’s not forget they played Orlando and beat them by 25.”
  • On Kevin Durant: “Somebody said that Durant’s a lot like George Gervin, but he’s a lot longer than George Gervin and probably faster with the ball. … I think he’s going to be one of the all-time great players in this league, I really do. There’s nothing that he doesn’t have. He has size, ball-handling ability, great kid, great leader. He’s already the leader on that team, hadn’t even been in the league three years.”
  • On defending Durant: “Same as we do with all good players like him: we just try and play him, you know try and keep him out of the lane as much as we possibly can and have him be a jump shooter. If he’s making jump shots there’s no way you can defend him anyway.”
  • On James Harden: “I tell everyone that I think he’s one of the most efficient players that I’ve seen. … There’s nothing fancy in his game, he just shoots and takes shots and takes it to the basket and completes plays. Not any kind of flashiness about his game, but like I said, I would rather have an efficient guy than a flashy guy.”
  • Keys to the game“Transition defense. They play a lot in the open court like we do. We got to have good transition defense, you’ve got to be able to guard your guy individually, and we’re going to have to be good on a lot of screens, not just ball screens but pin downs for shooters coming off and things like that.”
  • As expected Leandro Barbosa is inactive. He is still expected to play Friday night against the Clippers and isn’t expected to be eased into the rotation at all. “We’ll just stick him in and see what happens,” Gentry said. “If he feels good and obviously can be out there, we’ll let him go.”