Suns host Thunder in pivotal battle for playoff positioning

With only two games on the NBA schedule for Thursday night, the Phoenix Suns will be in the national TV spotlight against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 10:30 p.m. on TNT.

The Suns trail the Thunder by two and a half games for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. The Thunder are probably going to be without reigning league MVP Kevin Durant, which should have the Suns eager to close the gap in the playoff race.

But with Durant missing the last couple of games, Russell Westbrook has elevated his game to another level. Westbrook has Oklahoma City looking for a season-high eighth straight victory. The All-Star Game MVP is averaging 29.5 points per game with 10.1 assists and 8.2 rebounds over his last 10 games. Oklahoma City is averaging 111.7 points over its last 10 games, and though Durant has missed half of them, each was a victory.

The Suns (30-28) have been trending in the opposite direction with eight losses in 10 games. Phoenix snapped a five-game skid on Wednesday with a win at Denver. Brandon Knight, who was acquired right before the trade deadline, poured in 19 points.

Along with the Suns acquiring Knight, they traded guards Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas to reshape their offensive future. The Thunder had their hand in the action as well, bringing in Enes Kanter from the Utah Jazz. Kanter has 35 points over his last two games for the Thunder.

According to, there are fewer than 1,000 Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder tickets remaining for tonight’s game at the US Airways Center. The average ticket price is $132.09 with a walk-in price of $18. Before the NBA trade deadline (2/18), the average ticket price was $176.30 and once the Suns shook up their roster, the average ticket price was $155.69 on February 20th, and has steadily declining since then.

Oklahoma City has won 13 of 15 in the series, including two home meetings this season. The Suns will have their hands full with Serge Ibaka and Kanter, as they’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA.