On a High Note Again

After a difficult stretch, the Phoenix Suns finished a frustrating December on a high note.

They'll try for their fourth straight win Thursday when they host a Seattle SuperSonics club struggling with injuries.

The Suns (22-9) finished December winning three straight to finish 10-5 for the month. While a good showing for most teams, it was nonetheless their fewest wins in December since 2003, when they went 5-12.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Phoenix –14.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 210 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix –14.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The schedule didn't help, as Phoenix played 11 of its 17 December games on the road, including Saturday's 117-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

"Our schedule this month has been really rough," said Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, whose club is percentage points behind San Antonio for the best record in the Western Conference. "We played 10 of 16 games on the road and played through some rough games. We are just trying to get better and keep playing together."

The Suns now begin January with four straight games at home, where they have played a league-low 12 games but are 9-3 in those contests.

They'll also try to build off a strong offensive effort from Saturday, when Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and a season-high 17 rebounds while Steve Nash added 12 points and 15 assists - his 11th game this season with 15 assists or more.

Racking up assists is easier with a scorer on the court like Stoudemire, who is averaging 29.7 points over the last three games.

"He is turned on right now," Nash said. "It is great to see. He is full of energy and working really hard. He is mentally focused and in the game. He has got a swagger and growl to his game. I am really proud to see what he is doing."

Nash and Stoudemire may find their tasks easier Thursday if Seattle (9-22) takes the court without Kevin Durant and Chris Wilcox.

Durant, the Sonics' leading scorer with 19.7 points per game, sprained his left index finger during Saturday's 109-90 win over Minnesota and sat out Monday's 98-90 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The second overall pick in the 2007 draft was wearing a soft wrist brace that he said prevents him from handling the ball cleanly.

"LeBron (James) had the same injury and I talked to him about it," Durant said. "He said it took him about five days. I'm hoping that if I get some treatment and ice it a little more I'll be ready next game."

Wilcox, whose 13.6 scoring average ranks second on the Sonics, missed Monday's game due to a sprained left knee.

Without their top two scorers, the Sonics were led by Earl Watson, who had 18 points. Jeff Green added 16, while Nick Collison had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Phoenix beat the Sonics 106-99 in its season opener Nov. 1 at Seattle. The Suns have also won two straight home meetings with the Sonics.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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