The Oklahoma City Thunder issued another dominant 97-69 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
Four of the Thunder’s five starters scored double figures. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 24 points, while Thabo Sefolosha followed with 20 points after sinking 5 of his 7 3-pointers. Kevin Durant finished with 18 points and led the Thunder in rebounds with seven.
“We played the same as we did last time,” Westbrook said. “I think we did a good job of that, and maybe even better this time.”
The fourth quarter for the Thunder was once again 12 minutes of rest vs. the Suns. Phoenix perpetually struggled to keep pace with this “thunderous” Thunder team. Phoenix never had a single lead in the entire game, part of which was because of the team’s 22 total turnovers. According to the Suns Twitter feed, this messy outing was a product of committing too many mistakes against an exceptional team.
“When you give a great team every option in their playbook you’re not going to win,” interim head coach Lindsey Hunter said.
Like AC/DC’s classic album and single “Back in Black,” the Suns looked to change the very-recent history from two nights ago with their throwback black uniforms. Well for those superstitious believers out there, the Suns’ attire selection was rendered moot despite their aesthetic appeal.
Oklahoma City consistently demonstrated their absolute and utter superiority in this sequel of back-to-back encounters against the Suns. Phoenix seemed to be playing in the same undead state as the zombies in Sunday’s second-half season three premier of “The Walking Dead.”
In their 27-16 first-quarter lead, the Thunder closed with a commanding 8-0 scoring run with every major statistical category in-hand including field goal and free throw percentages, fast break points, assists and steals.
By the end of the second quarter, Westbrook’s 3-point buzzer beater put the embarrassing dagger in the Suns with a 51-34 lead. Phoenix attempted 13 more baskets, but shot 17 percent lower than Oklahoma City’s 47 percent from the field. Although both teams had trouble in the low post, the Suns were only able to reach the free throw line once. Rebounding, by extension, was another area where the Suns struggled. Of the team’s 14 offensive rebounds, P.J. Tucker accounted for seven.
The Thunder continued to roll in the third quarter with a 74-48 lead. Hunter’s game plan by this time clearly was to involve the younger players on the Suns’ roster. The truest indication was the benching of Jared Dudley in favor of Kendall Marshall. With such a distinguishable point differential, the Thunder certainly had the same mentality entering the fourth quarter.
“The thing about our team we have guys who can come in and do a good job when needed,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “There are some guys who don’t get to play, but it nice for them to get opportunities.”
Until the midway point of the quarter, no Suns player scored double digits until Markieff Morris barely broke through with 12 points. Simply put, Phoenix as a whole mightily failed to put the ball in the hoop. Yet in spite of this horrifying result, the Suns are apparently trying to take this process one game at a time.
“You treat it as one game,” Hunter explained. “It is like having a bad day at work and nothing goes right for you. Look at it and you go on. You know what? I am glad today is over, let’s start over. You do not hang your head and dwell on it, you move on. And that is what we are going to do. That is my job not to let the guys have pity parties.”