Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Pick & Prediction MARCH 3rd 2024

The Phoenix Suns may not have Devin Booker on the floor when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.

Booker sprained his right ankle with 1:15 left in Saturday night’s 118-109 loss to the Houston Rockets. Suns coach Frank Vogel didn’t rule one way or the other on whether his star guard would play in the contest against Oklahoma City.

“We’ll see how he responds overnight,” Vogel said while sharing that X-rays on Booker’s ankle were negative.

Booker was injured when his feet got tangled with teammate Royce O’Neale while playing defense. O’Neale also sustained a sprained right ankle but his injury isn’t as serious, according to Vogel.

It was a tough Saturday night on the injury front for the Suns as center Jusuf Nurkic departed with a sprained neck late in the second quarter after taking an accidental blow from teammate Josh Okogie.

The loss to Houston also ended the Suns’ nine-game home winning streak.

Oklahoma City also is coming off a surprise loss after the Thunder fell 132-118 to the host San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Oklahoma City matched a season best with six straight wins before succumbing to the Spurs, the last-place team in the Western Conference.

Rookie standout Chet Holmgren viewed the setback as a major lesson.

“It’s just another reminder that this is the NBA,” Holmgren said. “No team is in the NBA for no reason. No player is in the NBA for no reason. Any team can beat another on any given night regardless of record or anything. They came out confident. Part of that was them, part of that was us. We should be better the next one.”

Holmgren scored 23 points against the Spurs to top 20 for the third time in the past four games.

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander poured in 31 points against San Antonio for his seventh straight 30-point outing.

Gilgeous-Alexander has 44 such efforts this season, three shy of the franchise record held by current Suns star Kevin Durant, who did it in both the 2009-10 and 2013-14 seasons. Gilgeous-Alexander had 45 30-point outings last season.

The loss to the Spurs marked the opening contest of a four-game road trip for Oklahoma City. The other games are against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday and the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

The Thunder defeated the Suns 111-99 in Phoenix on Nov. 12. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points and Jalen Williams scored 31 for the Thunder, while Durant led Phoenix with 28 points.

Durant scored 30 points in Saturday’s disappointing loss to Houston in the second game of a back-to-back set.

The Suns trailed by 19 after the opening quarter and the young Rockets repeatedly held off their advances while beating Phoenix for the second time in nine days. The Suns defeated Houston on Thursday.

“It’s a good lesson,” Vogel said. “These little baseball series within the 82-game season. You beat a team one game, they’re going to have the psychological advantage and come back hungrier.”

Bradley Beal returned for the Suns after a five-game absence due to a hamstring injury but was ejected in the third quarter. Beal was preparing to inbounds the ball and tapped it on Jalen Green’s head and then his face before throwing it in. Green shoved Beal in return and Beal shoved an open hand into Green’s face.

Beal scored seven points in 20 minutes. He has played in just 31 of 60 games since being acquired by the Washington Wizards in the offseason.

–Field Level Media

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