Phoenix Suns (22-57) v Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33)

Phoenix Suns (22-57) v Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33)

Russell Westbrook Could Make History in PHX Tonight

Mar 3, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts as he controls the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. (10) in the second quarter at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts as he controls the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. (10) in the second quarter at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns (22-57) v Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33)

Friday 4/7/2017 7pm
Talking Stick Resort, Phoenix, AZ
Fox Sports Arizona/NBAtv/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Oklahoma City leads 2-1
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 125-106
Last Matchup – March 3, 2017 Phoenix won 118-111
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Golden State Warriors 120-111
Thunder’s Last Game – Win over the Memphis Grizzlies 103-100
Suns’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 107.4 (9th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.3 (30th of 30)
Thunder’s Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 106.8 (11th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 105.7 (16th of 30)


Another night another loss, this time to the Golden State Warriors. Yet even among the litany of L’s, there is still plenty of shining stars and moments as the Suns 2016-17 mercifully winds down to an end.

Although the Warriors played minus the resting Draymond Green and Andre Iguadala, the Suns managed to make a competitive game of their final matchup with Golden State this season, finding themselves down by only 3 points with 5:01 to go in the fourth. Granted the Suns do not currently have the firepower to stop or outshoot a team like the Warriors, given the circumstances watching Phoenix in that game all the way to the end was a pleasant surprise. For a complete wrapup and some fascinating stats about this team, read here.

Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis continue to lead the Suns comprising a formidable backcourt that without Eric Bledsoe is still one of the most productive guard tandems in the league. Alan Williams, who won the 2017 Dan Majerle Hustle Award, is fighting everyday to earn an extension beyond the end of this season. Derrick Jones Jr. is making a strong argument for a spot on next season’s opening day roster, and not another run in the G-League. Marquese Chriss too is growing before our eyes and as of the Golden State game is now the third rookie in franchise history with at least 72 starts.

For the second consecutive game there is a historical element to a Suns game for both teams involved. The obvious and most nationally acclaimed event is whether or not Russell Westbrook will get his 42nd triple-double on the season, surpassing Oscar Robertson’s 1961-62 record of 41. He is also only 6 assists away from guaranteeing a minimum average of 10 assists per game which will will secure the first seasonal average of a triple-double since Robertson’s aforementioned historic season.

On the other hand, with a loss the Suns will break their franchise-record of 13 consecutive losses, extending the streak that began all the way back on March 12. While that streak in and of itself is nothing to be excited about, the fact that the Lakers keep on winning (they have won two straight including an upset victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night) have now placed the Suns all alone with the 2nd most ping pong balls in the draft lottery.

There is still a slight chance that the Suns end up with the worst record in the league thus the most ping pong balls in the lottery if the Brooklyn Nets keep winning as well. Winners of three straight, including a 141-118 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, if the Nets win out and the Suns lose out then Phoenix will end up with the league’s worst record. If the Nets win all but one and the Suns lose out, then the two teams tie for the league’s worst record and Phoenix snags a few more ping pong balls as the two teams would split the combined shares.

If the Nets lose two games and the Lakers win one more, then the Suns have a chance to do a little winning themselves and not move up or down in the standings. From here on out, every win the Lakers have is a one win the Suns too can have, without slipping in the standings. So if the Nets lose two and the Lakers win one, then the Suns can win one without moving. If the Lakers win two, the Suns can win two, etc.

Remaining Games:

Brooklyn Nets – at Orlando, vs Chicago, at Boston, at Chicago

Los Angeles Lakers – vs Sacramento, vs Minnesota, vs, New Orleans, at Golden State

Phoenix Suns – vs Oklahoma City, vs Dallas, at Sacramento

Three Interesting Stats

Phoenix Suns

1. While this is nothing too special, the three Suns’ 13-game losing streaks in their history took place at three totally different times in the season. First, 1996-97, games 1-13. Second, 2015-16, games 46-58. 2016-17, games 67-79, and counting.

2. With their two most recent 13-game losing streaks occurring in back-to-back seasons, this mark the first time since 1973-74 and 1974-75 that the Suns have had back-to-back seasons with double-digit losing streaks, the first two only 10-game streaks each.

3. Not all 13-game losing streaks are alike as this season’ scoring averages are the highest scoring one yet. Of the three 13-game streaks in franchise history, this season the Suns average both more points scored, and allowed, than the two predecessors.

1996-97 / 92.8 – 103.2

2015-16 / 96.9 – 110.9

2016-17 / 97.9 – 116.8

Granted, I would be remiss to ignore the fact that the Suns are averaging more points per game on the season than anytime outside of the D’Antoni and Barkley era’s over the past 25 years, and they are allowing more points per game than any Suns team have since 1986-87.

Oklahoma City Thunder

1. Even though Russell Westbrook appears to be on the verge of setting the all-time record for most triple-doubles in a season as well as become the second player to average a triple-double in a season, his season stats are a notch below Oscar Robertson’s in 1961-62.

Westbrook – 31.8p/10.7r/10.4a

Robertson – 30.8p/12.5r/11.4a

To put it into a slightly more specific perspective, Westbrook’s stats actually become a lot more similar to Robertson when only averaging his triple doubles alone, compared to Robertson’s full season stats.

Westbrook – 31.2p/12.6r/12.8a

Robertson – 30.8/12.5r/11.4a

2. Russell Westbrook has missed out on six more triple-doubles this season by one stat, falling one assist short on five occasions, then falling one rebound short once, against Memphis on Wednesday night. He additionally has fallen two individual stats away from another triple-double, missing out on three because of only 8 assists, and two because of only 8 rebounds.

3. Westbrook has three unconventional quadruple-doubles that include turnovers (12/4, 1/13, 1/18), but has not come close to a quadruple-double adding either steals or blocks to his points, rebounds, and assists tally. The closest this season he has come was with 4 steals on three occasions, and two blocks on three occasions, including the untraditional quadruple-double on 1/18.