Suns heating as Thunder arrive for NBA odds bout

By: Brad Young | Thursday, February 3, 2011
Steve Nash

Steve Nash has 38 assists during the Phoenix Suns’ three-game win streak.

Oklahoma City (31-17 straight up, 24-24 against the spread) begins a stretch of playing four of its next five games on the road with Friday’s matchup at Phoenix (23-24 SU, 20-25-2 ATS).  The Thunder currently reside atop the Northwest Division standings, and would be the fourth seed in the Western Conference if the regular season concluded today.

Don Best's Real-Time Odds show Oklahoma City as a slight one-point road favorite over Phoenix, with the total set at 216 ½.  Friday’s contest is scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m. PT from the Suns’ US Airways Center.

Oklahoma City improved to 3-1 SU its last four games after dumping New Orleans Wednesday as seven-point home ‘chalk,’ 104-93.  The combined 197 points slithered ‘under’ the 198-point closing total, ending a string of three straight ‘over’ outings.  The Thunder were 1-6 ATS their last seven matchups before facing the Hornets.

Oklahoma City took control of the contest by outscoring New Orleans in the third quarter, 32-17.  The Thunder finished the contest with advantages in rebounding (44-32) and assists (22-18) while shooting a robust 53 percent (36-of-68) from the field and 42 percent (10-of-24) from behind the arc.

Small forward Kevin Durant unleashed his league-best fifth 40-point performance of the season with 43 points and 10 rebounds.  That marked the third time the University of Texas product scored 40 points or more the previous four games.  Forward Jeff Green provided 12 points and seven board in the victory, while point guard Russell Westbrook added 10 points and eight assists.

Phoenix sits in second place in the Pacific Division, but the team would miss the playoffs if the regular season ended today.  The Suns enter this matchup riding a three-game SU and ATS winning streak after throttling Milwaukee Wednesday as a six-point home favorite, 92-77.  The combined 169 points failed to eclipse the 200-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 6-2 the last eight outings.

Phoenix finished the game with advantages in rebounding (54-39) and assists (20-13).  The Suns shot a solid 50 percent (36-of-72) from the field, while limiting the Bucks to a dismal 31 percent (28-of-90).

Center Marcin Gortat paced the Phoenix offense with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while small forward Grant Hill had 16.  Center Channing Frye posted 14 and 13 in the triumph, while forward Jared Dudley added 15 and seven.

The Suns are 8-2 SU and 4-5-1 ATS the previous 10 meetings with Oklahoma City after winning the lone encounter this season Dec. 19 as a 9 ½-point home favorite, 113-110.  The combined 223 points toppled the 214 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 5-2 the last seven meetings.  The underdog is 8-3-1 ATS the past 12 games in this series.

Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha is ‘questionable’ against the Suns due to a knee injury.  The Thunder follow this contest with Saturday’s road effort versus Utah before returning home to face Memphis.  Oklahoma City has seen the ‘under’ go 9-4 the previous 13 road games.

Phoenix guard Goran Dragic (foot) and forward Gani Lawal (knee) are ‘out’ indefinitely.  The Suns begin a home-and-home series with Golden State following this contest.  Phoenix has seen the ‘under’ go 6-2 its last eight outings overall.

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