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Suns, Thunder Meet In NYE Showdown

New Year's Eve sees Goran Dragic and the Suns looking for a rare win in Oklahoma City.

New Year’s Eve sees Goran Dragic and the Suns looking for a rare win in Oklahoma City.

The National Basketball Association bids farewell to 2014 with a New Year’s Eve clash between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns.

Tip-off at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

With both sides embroiled in a battle royal for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, this one promises to be a fitting finale to what has been an eventful calendar year in the Association.

The Story So Far

Oklahoma City (15-17, 8-7 home) enters Wednesday night’s clash looking to find a way back into playoff contention.

After beginning the season without its superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, it was rough sailing for the Thunder to start the year. Both players returned in December, sparking the type of purple patch we’ve come to expect of the side over the last four years.

With Westbrook and Durant on the floor, the Thunder went 7-2 over a nine-game spell, but injury would soon derail the team again. Durant’s knee once more flared up, causing the five-time All-Star to miss six straight games. Thunder fans will be hoping he returns to action on New Year’s Eve.

After compiling a seven-game winning streak, Oklahoma City has gone 3-4 over its last seven games, and 3-3 without Durant. On Sunday the side came up short on the road against the Dallas Mavericks. Everybody involved will be working tirelessly to ensure that 2014 doesn’t end with a similar result.

As things stand, Phoenix (18-15, 11-8 road) occupies the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

After narrowly missing out on the postseason a year ago, the Suns are once more punching above their weight, getting solid all-around team performances more often than not. Any grasp on the No. 8 berth is precarious though.

With both the Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans hot on their heels, Jeff Hornacek’s side needs to win big games. That includes Wednesday’s trip to Oklahoma City. Winning is something the Suns have gotten used to over the past two weeks.

Despite a lengthy road spell, the Suns built up a six-game winning streak between December 17 and 28. That winning run came to a close Tuesday night with a 110-106 loss in New Orleans, but the Suns aren’t likely to be deflated by what was a close loss.

Impact Players

Since returning from injury, Russell Westbrook has been the man for Oklahoma City. The guard is averaging 28 points, 5.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game, playing just about 32 minutes a game in 18 contests.

Kevin Durant’s return from injury was a positive one. The reigning MVP averaged 22.4 point in a restricted 28 minutes of game time. The Thunder went 7-2 in the nine games he played before once more heading for the trainer’s table.

Reggie Jackson has provided an offensive spurt for Scott Brooks’ side, averaging 15.9 points and 4.5 assists per outing, while Serge Ibaka is adding offense and defense to the side, averaging 14.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

Goran Dragic once again leads the Suns offensively, averaging 16.7 points per game. The Slovenian makes up one half of an effective backcourt combo, with Eric Bledsoe also playing well. The latter is averaging 16.2 points per contest and a team-best 5.8 assists.

Three other Suns’ players – Isaiah Thomas (14.9ppg), Markieff Morris (14.9) and Gerald Green (13.9) – are also averaging double digits in scoring, with Marcus Morris (9.8) just a shade under that marker.


The two sides met back on December 14 in Oklahoma City. The Thunder rode out to a 112-88 victory in that clash, thanks to a combined 51 points from Durant and Westbrook.

Following Wednesday’s clash, the two sides will meet twice more this season (Feb. 26, Mar. 29), with both games taking place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

Injury Report

Oklahoma City is without forward Mitch McGary, out indefinitely with a leg injury. Kevin Durant (ankle) is listed as day-to-day but could return to the hardwood after a six-game layoff.

Phoenix has no injuries to report.

After six games away, the Thunder will be hoping Kevin Durant returns to the hardwood on Wednesday.

After missing six games, the Thunder hopes Kevin Durant returns to the hardwood on Wednesday.

Betting Report

Below you’ll find Betting Sports’ breakdown of odds and betting trends.

Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder odds for 12/31/2014

Moneyline: Playing at home, Oklahoma City is favored over Phoenix on the moneyline in this one.

The Suns are a threat on the road though. Prior to Tuesday’s loss in the Big Easy, Jeff Hornacek’s side had won five straight away from Phoenix. That being said, the Suns haven’t won in Oklahoma City since December 2011, a run of seven straight losses.

The Thunder is 12-2 in its last 14 head-to-head games against Phoenix.

Spread: The spread opened at 7.

Phoenix (18-14-1 ATS) has fared better against the spread this season than Oklahoma City (16-15-1 ATS).

The Suns are 11-7-1 ATS on the road and 4-4-0 ATS when considered the underdog.

The Thunder is 11-4-0 ATS at Chesapeake Energy Arena this season, and 8-8-0 ATS when playing as the favorite.

Oklahoma City is 7-3-0 ATS in its last 10 head-to-head games against Phoenix, and 4-1-0 ATS in the last five the two sides have played in OKC.

Total: The total opened at 213.

Phoenix (20-13-0 O/U) has favored the over this season while Oklahoma City (11-19-2 O/U) has preferred the under.

11 of the last 15 head-to-head meetings have seen the total go over. The over has also paid out in seven of the last eight games the two sides have played at Chesapeake Energy Arena.


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