Suns Fall Short in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City (AP) Russell Westbrook had 32 points and 11 assists, James Harden matched his career high with 26 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame an off night by NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant to beat the Phoenix Suns 122-118 in overtime on Sunday night.
Vince Carter led Phoenix with 29 points but missed two of three free throws with the chance to put the Suns ahead with 17.4 seconds left. Steve Nash missed a potential tying 3-pointer after that, and the Thunder were able to close it out from the foul line.
Durant made a season-low three baskets on 14 attempts and scored 18 points, 11 of them on free throws.
Reserves Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus each added 20 points for Phoenix.
Nash had 11 points and 14 assists, moving past Isiah Thomas for sixth place on the NBA's career assists list. He now has 9,066 and trails only John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.
The Thunder trailed most of regulation, then allowed Phoenix to rally back from a seven-point deficit in the final 3 minutes to tie it at 109. Oklahoma City then scored the first five points of overtime before giving up back-to-back 3-pointers by Jared Dudley and Carter to fall behind again.
Harden answered with a three-point play off a fast-break dunk to put Oklahoma City ahead 116-115 with 34 seconds left in overtime and the Thunder were able to protect that lead when Carter came up empty at the foul line.
Phoenix lost for just the second time in its last eight road games and finished its longest road trip of the season 4-2. The Suns also lost Channing Frye - who had hit two game-winning shots on the trip - to a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter after he had scored 11 points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
Serge Ibaka added 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks for Oklahoma City, which has followed a three-game losing streak with three wins in a row.
The Thunder trailed most of the way before ripping off a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter to go up 102-95 after Nick Collison's two-handed jam with 6:44 to play. Daequan Cook started the spurt with a 3-pointer from the right side and Harden added a two-handed slam off an alley-oop from Westbrook.
Frye then headed off slumped over with 6:28 remaining, and a Thunder team doctor attended to him in a hallway near the court. Phoenix still mounted a rally while Oklahoma City missed a series of 3-pointers.
Nash got inside for a layup and Gortat made a hook shot and a layup to get the Suns within 107-106 with 1:41 left. Westbrook made a pair of free throws to make it a three-point lead with 11.6 seconds left after Nash turned the ball over in a trap by Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, but the Suns made tying it up look easy.
Carter caught a crosscourt inbounds pass from Grant Hill on the right wing and drilled a 3-pointer with 9.2 seconds left to tie it at 109. Durant missed a fallaway jumper from just inside the 3-point line on the right wing as the game went to overtime.
Durant missed his first five shots and his last six.
Notes: Nash moved ahead of Thomas with a crosscourt pass to Carter for a 3-pointer in the final 2 minutes of the second quarter, his seventh of eight first-half assists. ... Eight of the Suns' players and coach Alvin Gentry joined Grant Hill in supporting former Duke teammate Jeff Capel at Oklahoma's rivalry game against Oklahoma State on Saturday. "I've been there a lot. I've been torched by Wayman (Tisdale)," Gentry said. "I was an assistant in the Big Eight. To me, it's still the Big Eight. It'll always be the Big Eight. I will never call it the Big 12, I don't care what." Gentry was an assistant at Kansas and then at Colorado. "I've got nightmares about Lloyd Noble (Center)," he said. "I was at Colorado also, when we weren't very good and we had to go in there and play, and Billy Tubbs wasn't exactly a guy that tried to hold the score down either."
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