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Thunder Run Away From Suns
By: Stefan Swiat, Suns.comYou knew the defending Western Conference Champion Thunder were going to strike Sunday. But the forecast was going to be determined by how much the Suns would shine.
Despite some solid runs to combat the No. 1 offense in the league, the Suns were unable to maintain any brightness long enough, falling 97-69 at home to the Thunder.
“Everybody was saying before tonight’s game that we have to stay together as a team, try to fight them and get to where it was going to be close at the end of the game where anything is possible,” Suns point guard Goran Dragic said. “But at the end of the game we weren’t even close.”
Facing a club with the second-best defensive field goal percentage in the league, Phoenix was undone by a season-low 34 points and just 31-percent shooting from the floor in the first half. Due to their struggles on offense, the Suns had to start the second half down 17, a deficit that was too much to overcome against an Oklahoma City team that shot 53 percent from downtown on the night.
However, the Suns would move to within four points in the third period, but fell for the 10-straight time to the Thunder, who own a league-best 16-9 road record. After committing 23 turnovers, the Suns were limited to their lowest field goal percentage and scoring output of the season.
“It is like having a bad day at work and you go to work and nothing goes right for you,” Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter said. “You look at it and you go, ‘You know what, I am glad today it's over, let’s start over.’ You do not hang your head and dwell on it, you move on.”
Suns power forward Markieff Morris was the lone Suns player in double figures with 12 points. Meanwhile, the Thunder's attack was led by Russell Westbrook (24 points), Thabo Sefolosha (21 points) and Kevin Durant (18 points).
The Suns visit the Lakers on Tuesday. It will be their final game before the All-Star break.
League of Their Own
Only two NBA players currently lead their respective team in points, assists, steals and free throw attempts. One is the Heat’s LeBron James, the other is Goran Dragic. He’s averaging a career-best 14.3 points, 6.4 assists, 1.41 steals and has 201 free throw attempts thus far this season.
The Suns completed their first-home-and-home set of the season after playing their last game against the Thunder on Friday. It was their Suns’ first home-and-home since playing the Lakers on February 12-14 of last season.
The last time the Suns faced the Thunder on a home-and-home, it was on January 14-17, 2001, when they have were the Sonics. Dating back to the 1999-2000 season, the Suns came into Sunday having won four straight after losing the front end of a home-and-home set.
In fact, the last time Phoenix had been swept on a home-and-home was during the 1999 season.
Before the game, Coach Hunter was posed the question of whether the Thunder’s Kevin Durant was the NBA’s MVP this season. The first-year coach believes that he is “a close second.”
“If you see what LeBron (James) is doing this year, it’s amazing,” Hunter said. “What he’s been able to do this season is just short of miraculous.”
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