For the first time since beating Dallas on January 18, the Thunder have won consecutive games. Now, they get a pair of games against the Suns with a chance to gain some momentum headed into contests against the Jazz and Heat next week.
Cleaning up the Mess
During the last couple of games, something strange has happened in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have suddenly stopped turning the ball over. Alright, so that is a bit of hyperbole, but the team has put together solid back to back efforts with a turnover percentage of 10.0 percent against the Mavs and 10.4 percent against the Warriors. Those numbers are well below Oklahoma City's season average turnover percentage of 14.7 percent.
Granted, Dallas ranks 22nd in turnover percentage forced and the reeling Golden State defense ranks 28th, but this is still a big step in the right direction for Oklahoma City. If the Thunder can keep the turnover number low against a Suns team that has done a solid job in forcing a turnover percentage of 14.0 percent, it could go a long way to improving Oklahoma City's most consistent weakness.
Not Cleaning up the Boards
The Thunder have struggled all year to find an identity on the offensive boards. The team ranks 25th in total offensive rebounds and has a middling offensive rebounding percentage of 26.7 percent (16th in the NBA). One would think that they have a chance for a good game against a Suns team that ranks a dismal 27th in defensive rebounding percentage at 71.2 percent. But Oklahoma City struggled in its most recent game against Phoenix, notching an offensive rebounding percentage of only 20.9 percent in that game, a big reason the Suns were able to keep the game extremely close until the fourth quarter.
The Thunder need to take care of business in these back to back games against a Phoenix team that has lost five out of seven, starting with tonight's game at home. It only gets tougher after this with a tilt against the division rival Jazz and Eastern Conference foe, Miami set to round out the pre-All Star Game schedule.