The Phoenix Suns can’t afford to lose any momentum as they wrap up the regular season. They certainly don’t want to have a letdown against a possible playoff opponent.
The Suns, looking to at least keep pace in the Western Conference, visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Phoenix (51-27) has won 11 of 12 and 25 of 31, but needs to stay sharp over its last four games. The Suns are battling three teams for second place in the West.
Phoenix faces two of those clubs, Denver and Utah, next week. The matchups will likely help determine the Suns’ first-round opponent.
That may very well end up being Oklahoma City (48-30), which is in a three-way tie for sixth in the conference.
Phoenix and Oklahoma City have each won a road game in this season’s series. The Suns have won five straight on the road against the Thunder franchise and 10 of 11 overall meetings.
Phoenix is coming off a 112-101 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, reaching the 110-point mark for the 13th time in 19 games.
“One, it’s important to give those guys confidence and, two, it gives us some rest,” Nash said.
With the reserves playing so well, Jason Richardson(notes) also sat out the fourth quarter. The veteran guard has been bothered recently by a sore back, but had 20 points after being held scoreless in 22 minutes of a 107-98 loss to Milwaukee on Saturday night.
Oklahoma City was held without a basket for the final 9 minutes.
The Thunder were coming off an emotional game, losing 140-139 in overtime to Utah the previous evening. The NBA admitted Wednesday that officials failed to call a foul that could have given Kevin Durant(notes) a chance to shoot the potential winning free throws.
Durant had an opportunity for redemption, but missed his final six shots versus the Nuggets. Durant, however, has averaged 39.3 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 45.5 percent (10 for 22) from 3-point range over his last three games.
Durant scored 37.0 points a game in two contests against the Suns this season.