What a disappointing end to a disappointing 2012 year for the Phoenix Suns(11-21) as they lost their final game of the 2012 against the Oklahoma City Thunder(24-6) last night 96-114.
The Suns collapsed in the 4th quarter allowing the Thunder to outscore them 30-18 in the final period. The Thunder went on a 29-9 run in the final 9:29 of the 4th quarter to close out the game.
Russell Westbrook led the way for the Thunder last night notching 24 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. Westbrook left the game in the final minutes of the first half after taking an elbow from Luis Scola which left a gash across his nose much like the one Steve Nash had all those years ago in the playoffs against the Spurs. Westbrook would get stitches and return to the game.
“When you see blood, you don’t know what to do,” Durant said of Westbrook. “I was glad he came back here and got stitched up and was able to play again. He came out there with a lot of anger and it showed on both ends of the floor. He pushed us over the top.” Kevin Durant added 30 points for Oklahoma City.
Luis Scola’s great play continues as he led the Suns last night with 24 points and 6 rebounds; in Scola’s last two games he’s averaging 28.5 points, 8 rebounds and shooting over 60% from the field.
The game was within the Suns grasp heading into the 4th quarter as they shot well over 50% throughout the first 3 quarters and trailed only 78-84 but the Thunder locked in defensively in the 4th and held the Suns to a mere 39% shooting in the final period of play.
“That’s a good team win, just five turnovers, a lot of guys did a lot of good things tonight and the defense really turned it up in the fourth quarter. We locked in and did what we needed to do.” Said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
Suns head coach Alvin Gentry started swingman P.J Tucker last night in place of Shannon Brown for defensive purpose and Tucker responded with great defense on Kevin Durant holding the 3-time scoring champion to 2 of 8 shooting in the 1st quarter and 4 of 11 overall in the 1st half, but a great talent like Durant could only be contained for so long.
With the loss to the Thunder the Suns have lost their last 6 games which just about nullified their 4-game win streak last month. The Suns now fall to 2-14 on the road and 11-21 overall which places them as the 2nd worst team in the western conference ahead of only the injury plagued New Orleans Hornets, and 6th overall worst in the NBA.
The good news for the Suns at this point is that they’re heading back to Phoenix to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night which is the 1st game of the new year and it’ll also be the 1st game of a 3-game home stand before they embark on a 4-game road trip to the east.