|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 28, 2018
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona Attendance: 18,055
Thunder aim to complete season sweep of Suns
Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns
- The Thunder are 3-0 against the Suns this season, and will be looking to sweep the season series over Phoenix for the first time since the 2015-16 season. OKC has averaged 11.7 offensive rebounds against Phoenix this season, leading to 17.0 second chance points per game.
- Oklahoma City has lost two games in a row, most recently falling, 113-109, to Houston on Christmas. The Thunder allowed 14 three-pointers in both of the losses -- Oklahoma City is 8-10 (.444) this season when allowing 10 or more three-pointers, and 13-2 (.867) when allowing fewer than 10 three-pointers.
- The Suns have won five of their last seven games, including a 122-120 overtime win against Orlando in their most recent game. During this seven-game stretch, Phoenix has forced its opponents to commit an average of 16.7 turnovers, leading to 21.1 points off turnovers per game.
- Paul George is currently averaging career-highs in points per game (26.4), rebounds per game (8.4), assists per game (4.3) and steals per game (2.18). Since steals became officially recorded in 1973-74, only one player has ever averaged at least 26.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.0 SPG during a full season -- Michael Jordan (1988-89).
- In six games since returning from injury, Devin Booker has averaged 30.7 points and 8.0 assists. Booker has five games this season with at least 35 points and five assists -- only James Harden (13) and Kevin Durant (6) have more such games.
- Over his last 13 games against the Suns, Russell Westbrook has averaged 32.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 10.4 assists. Westbrook's career scoring average of 26.3 against the Suns is his highest against any team.
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PHOENIX -- Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder have had their way with the Phoenix Suns this season.
The Suns' current form suggests it will be a more competitive game when the teams meet for the fourth and final time this season Friday at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.
Oklahoma City (21-12) has won the first three against the Suns by a total margin of 44 points, and George has scored 87 points and made 13 3-pointers while shooting 52 percent from the field in those games.
The Suns (9-26) enter the game having won five of their last seven games, the most recent a 122-120 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, a run of success that basically has coincided with Devin Booker's return from a left hamstring injury that caused him to miss six games.
Booker did not play in the Dec. 14 victory over Dallas that began the run but has averaged 30.7 points, 8.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds in the last six. He has scored 35, 33 and 38 points during the streak, and he had nine points in the final minute of regulation in Orlando to force overtime.
"That's Devin's job description," Suns coach Igor Kokoskov told reporters. "That's what he does for us. He is the present and future of our organization. Whatever he decides to do with this program, that's what is going to happen."
New Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr., acquired from Washington for Trevor Ariza on Dec. 18, and rookie center Deandre Ayton also have made an impact during the run.
Oubre has averaged 14.8 points and 3.8 rebounds and made nine 3-pointers off the bench since being added. He had 20 points and played a season-high 42 minutes in a 149-146 triple-overtime loss at Washington last Saturday.
Ayton has become a more aggressive rebounder, especially on the offensive end, with 34 offensive rebounds in the last seven games.
Ayton is averaging 16.3 points and 10.9 rebounds in the last seven games, and he entered the Orlando game as the first rookie since Blake Griffin in 2010 to have three straight games of at least 20 points and 15 rebounds. He had eight points and 12 boards against Orlando.
"Some teams just click sometimes," Booker told reporters after getting 35 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in Orlando.
"You never know when a team can click, an adjustment starts working or a new player is added like Kelly and it just clicks."
Oklahoma City has lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak, and the losses have been by two and four points.
George had 28 points and 14 rebounds in a 113-109 loss at Houston in the Thunder's last game on Christmas day, and Russell Westbrook was one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double after scoring 21 points.
Houston packed its defense inside, and the Thunder made only 9 of 30 three-point attempts while playing their third game in four days.
"The second half we didn't shoot the ball as well," Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters after the Houston game.
"That's going to happen sometimes. We've played a lot of games in a short period of time. Maybe a little leg-weary and the ball is just not going down."
Despite the loss in Houston, Oklahoma City is the only team in the Western Conference with a winning record on the road at 9-8. The Thunder's 6.1-point differential is the best in the conference and fourth in the league.
Westbrook -- averaging a triple-double at 20.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.2 assists -- has played in only one of the three games against the Suns, scoring 23 points with nine rebounds and seven assists in the 117-110 victory on Oct. 28.
Center Steven Adams, who missed the first game the season series, has won the paint in the last two, scoring 44 points on 20-of-28 shooting with 17 rebounds.
Houston had 17 offensive rebounds and 23 second-chance points on Christmas day, the most telling numbers in the game.
"Rotational box-outs are always the toughest ones," Adams told The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman. "They put you in such a tough bind where you have to go back to your guy on the perimeter.
"It's not impossible to do the rotational box-outs. It just wasn't on point."
Suns guard Jamal Crawford missed the Orlando game with knee soreness, and he is listed as questionable for Friday's game. Thunder guard Alex Abrines missed the Houston game because of illness and did not practice Thursday.
Updated December 28, 2018