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Trade Leaves Phoenix Suns Short-Handed For Visit To Oklahoma City Thunder

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Just another boring day on Planet Orange. Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark are taking 25 percent of the team's minutes played, 48 percent of the three-point shots made and 28 percent of the total points to Orlando. In the meantime, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Peitrus won't be cleared through physicals and in Phoenix Suns uniforms until Thursday's home game against Miami. That leaves the team short-handed tonight in Oklahoma City against the Thunder and even more so if Steve Nash can't play.

Nash suffered a neck stinger that caused numbness and tingling in his hands and arms after colliding with Tyson Chandler early in the Dallas game on Friday. Nash is said to be fine to play tonight after suffering what was essentially a whiplash type of injury.

Even with Nash in the lineup, it will be difficult for the Suns to keep up with the 19-8 Thunder. Kevin Durant and friends have won eight of their last ten games with the two losses coming to Chicago and Toronto and the wins coming mostly against teams with losing records. Of course, the Suns are also a team with a losing record (12-13) so that makes the home team the heavy favorite.

Without Jason Richardson, Goran Dragic will have to play a big role in this game even if Jared Dudley starts at shooting guard. Dragic had 14 points (5-11 shooting) and 10 assists in 39 minutes of play against the Mavericks on Saturday. He gives the Suns their best chance at slowing down Russell Westbrook, who has been tearing through the league this season. I would look for Dragic to mark Westbrook with Nash "hiding" on Thabo Selolosha. If Nash can't play, Dragic will still get Westbrook with Childress and Dudley splitting time at the two guard position. 

Grant Hill will get the unenviable task of guarding Kevin Durant while up front the Suns will have a size advantage with Robin Lopez and Channing Frye against Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison. Thunder center Nenad Krstic is questionable for this game due to a lower back strain.

The game tips off at 5:00 p.m. local time (7:00 ET) and will be broadcast in Phoenix on UPN My45, NBA TV nationally and Sports 620 KTAR radio. Fans can also follow along with other fans live during the game at the Bright Side of the Sun live game thread.