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Preview: Suns (48-34) at Thunder (59-23)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Date: February 08, 2013 8:00 PM EDT
  

Although the Oklahoma City Thunder win a majority of their games behind a high-powered offense led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, coach Scott Brooks wants his team to put some extra emphasis on the defensive end.

They seemingly shouldn't have much trouble with that request against the offensively challenged Phoenix Suns in Oklahoma City on Friday night.

The Thunder (37-12) average a league-best 106.2 points, with Durant leading all scorers at 29.3 per game and Westbrook ranking seventh at 22.6. The team put together one of its better offensive showings Wednesday in a 119-98 victory over Golden State.

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Durant had 25 points, Westbrook scored 22 and Kevin Martin added 21 as Oklahoma City won consecutive games for the first time in nearly three weeks after alternating wins and losses for the previous eight contests.

While the Thunder's offense led the way, the defense limited the Warriors to 19 points in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City has won 28 straight games when holding opponents to 98 points or fewer.

"I'm looking for us to just continue to bring the effort on the defensive end," Brooks said. "I've always felt with our guys as the season has gone and the years have gone by that offensively we're going to keep improving in that area but we wanted to focus on defense."

Although Brooks is looking for another strong showing from his defense, he wouldn't mind if Oklahoma City's offense continues to have its way with Phoenix. The Thunder are averaging 112.0 points while winning the last eight in the series - two this season.

In the last meeting Jan. 14, Durant and Westbrook combined for 47 of the Thunder's 51 points after halftime in a 102-90 road victory. Durant finished with 41 while Westbrook had 36.

Clamping down defensively also shouldn't be a problem for the Thunder, who've won 18 of 19 at home while the Suns have dropped 16 of 19 on the road.

Phoenix (17-33) is averaging 91.9 points while cracking triple digits just once over its last 19 games overall, including both losses to Oklahoma City. The Suns sputtered down the stretch in Wednesday's 93-84 loss at New Orleans, scoring 13 fourth-quarter points.

"Tough, tough loss for us," said interim coach Lindsey Hunter, who is 4-5 since taking over for Alvin Gentry on Jan. 20. "Not many positives can be taken from the game. Like I said, I am discouraged but I am still encouraged because I know where we are going to be and I know how we are going to do it."

Hunter's vision probably requires better shooting from the perimeter. The Suns were 1 of 15 on 3-point attempts Wednesday, and are shooting 25.0 percent from beyond the arc in their last six games.

Center Marcin Gortat has been on target, hitting 15 of 20 from the field in his last two contests. He has also posted a pair of double-doubles against Oklahoma City this season, averaging 15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 PHO  +1100   +14   206 
 OKL  -1800   -14   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 PHO     +14   206.5 
 OKL     -14   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   SPR   O/U 
 PHO  n/a   36%   82% 
 OKL  n/a   64%   18% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 NBA HEAD TO HEAD
 Jan 14, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 OKL 102 Cover: 6.5 
 PHO 90 Under: 192 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Dec 31, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 PHO 96 Over: 210 
 OKL 114 Cover: 5.5 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Oct 19, 2012  Score  ATS Results 
 PHO 97 Over: 204 
 OKL 107 Cover: 4.5 
 Tools:   Recaps

 NBA PREVIEWS
 Friday, Feb 8
 
    Nets at Wizards
7:05 PM EDT
    Raptors at Pacers
7:05 PM EDT
    Lakers at Bobcats
7:05 PM EDT
    Pelicans at Hawks
7:35 PM EDT
    Magic at Cavaliers
7:35 PM EDT
    Spurs at Pistons
7:35 PM EDT
    Clippers at Heat
8:05 PM EDT
    Trail Blazers at Rockets
8:05 PM EDT
    Knicks at Timberwolves
8:05 PM EDT
    Suns at Thunder
8:05 PM EDT
    Warriors at Grizzlies
8:05 PM EDT
    Bulls at Jazz
10:35 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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