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Vitals: Thunder at Suns

Oklahoma Sports brings you everything you need to know about the Thunder's game in Phoenix. Oklahoma Sports brings you everything you need to know about the Thunder's game in Phoenix.

Originally Published: Dec 23, 2009 4:2 PM CDT

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Oklahoma City Thunder (13-14) at Phoenix Suns (18-10)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 8:00 p.m. CST
U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Game 28 of 82

Expected Starting Lineups

Oklahoma City
Russell Westbrook
16.1 PPG, 6.9 APG
Steve Nash
18.1 PPG, 11.4 APG
SGThabo Sefolosha
6.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG
Jason Richardson
15.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Kevin Durant
27.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG
Grant Hill
12.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG
Jeff Green
15.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG
Amar'e Stoudemire
19.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG
Nenad Krstic
8.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG
Channing Frye
12.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG

Oklahoma City: G/F Kyle Weaver (shoulder, out); G Kevin Ollie (knee, out).
Dallas: PG Leandro Barbosa (ankle, questionable)

Where to find it?
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?

The Thunder is reaching the tail end of perhaps its toughest road trip of the season with games against the Rockets, Lakers and Suns, teams that have a combined record of 58-25. Oklahoma City lost both of the first two games to Houston and Los Angeles, but only by a combined eight points.

Meanwhile, the Suns have gone cold since starting the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. They won 14 of their first 17 games, but have since gone 4-7 and have traded wins and losses through their last seven contests. They are coming off an 18-point loss to the Cavaliers – their first of the year at home – and are looking to avoid their first back-to-back losses since Dec. 8. Since moving to OKC, the Thunder has played the Suns four times and Phoenix has won all four meetings.

Who to Watch?

The Suns are led by versatile two-time MVP Steve Nash, who is one of the best point guards in the league. He distributes the ball well to his teammates and leads the league with 11.4 assists per game, but has also scored at an above-average pace this season and is averaging 18.1 points per game on 53.3 percent shooting. But the bigger problem for the Thunder might be interior big man Amar’e Stoudemire, who is scoring 19.8 points per game and pulling down 8.5 rebounds per game this season.

The task of guarding Stoudemire will likely fall to Nenad Krstic and Serge Ibaka. Ibaka has seen an increase in playing time lately and led the team in rebounding against the Lakers with 14. While Krstic and Ibaka will have to carry the team defensively, it will Kevin Durant’s duty to score. Durant is currently fourth in the NBA with 27.3 points per game and is coming off a game in which he fouled out for the first time in his career.
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