104March 7, 2012
115Chesapeake Energy Arena
26 PTS, 10 REB
31 PTS, 10 AST
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Thunder rally from 16 down back, beat Suns 115-104OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)
Russell Westbrook scored 31 points, James Harden added a career-high 30 off the bench and the Oklahoma City Thunder roared back for a 115-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night for their 14th straight home win.
Kevin Durant also chipped in 30 points and Serge Ibaka contributed 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as the Thunder overcame a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter.
Oklahoma City limited the Suns to two baskets over an 11-minute stretch, outscoring Phoenix 33-9 to eliminate a big deficit and take control.
Marcin Gortat had a career-best 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead Phoenix, which built the largest lead for an opponent this season inside Chesapeake Energy Arena only to watch it disintegrate in an instant.
Westbrook had a steal for a right-handed, runout slam during a 16-2 burst that got the Thunder back in the game late in the third quarter. His 3-pointer from the top of the key got Oklahoma City within 86-84 in the final minute of the period.
Sticking with reserve guard Royal Ivey instead of playing with a center, the Thunder took the lead for good on Durant's layup in the first 3 minutes of the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Their home winning streak matches the fifth-longest in franchise history for a single season. When the club played in Seattle, the SuperSonics had three win streaks of 17 games and a 16-game run that was part of a record 29-game home win streak spanning two seasons.
Jared Dudley had 17 points and a season-best 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which had six players in double figures while bidding for its first four-game win streak of the season.
Channing Frye scored 13, and Steve Nash had 12 points and 13 first-half assists.
After heading into the All-Star break with coach Alvin Gentry delivering a podium-pounding speech questioning whether his team was a "tease" or a real playoff contender, the Suns had rallied from double-digit deficits in each of their first three games to start March.
This time, the tables were turned.
After Westbrook's jumper to open the game, Nash engineered a string of nine straight Phoenix points as the Suns established themselves early. Nash had seven assists by the time Phoenix finished another spurt, this one of 10 straight points, to go up 24-11 after Gortat's free throw with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
Durant sat down after picking up two fouls in 11 seconds, and the Suns went on to lead by as much as 15 in the opening period. It was Oklahoma City's largest home deficit of the season, until the Suns went up by even more in the second half.
Harden crouched over with three fingers extended on his right hand for an extended celebration after hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, then taunted Shannon Brown by saying "Boom" right in his face after dunking over him on a fast break.
Brown responded right back with his own right-handed slam to end the first quarter with Phoenix up 34-25, hanging on the rim for an extra moment when he was done.
Harden converted a three-point play off a finger roll against Brown early in the second quarter, and Brown came right back with two more right-handed slams before the tensions simmered down between the two reserves.
The Thunder used 22 fast-break points to get back within 64-58 at halftime, then let Phoenix deliver the first blow again in the second half. Nash drove for a pair of layups during a 14-4 run, and Dudley restored the lead to 78-64 when he missed two free throws but then grabbed the rebound on the second for a putback.
Dudley's basket on an Ibaka goaltend with 4:13 remaining in the third stretched the lead to 84-68 before the Thunder's big comeback.
Notes: Gentry, when asked before the game about the prospect of eight-time All-Star Nash being traded before next week's trade deadline, said: "I think that there's a lot of teams that would like to see him traded. We're just not one of them. ... We never talk about trading him." ... Grant Hill got a rare technical foul for disputing his third foul midway through the second quarter when he was knocked to the floor by Perkins and Harden tripped over him. ... Westbrook got one for slapping the ball against the floor in protest of an out of bounds call in the third.Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited