Game Recap: Thunder 116, Suns 98

News and notes following the Thunder’s 116-98 win over the Phoenix Suns:

  • The Thunder moves to 14-2 in March and that .875 winning percentage is the best in franchise history. The 14 wins ties the best mark in franchise history.
  • Oklahoma City has now won 50 games with eight still remaining to be played. The Thunder won 50 in all of last season.
    “50 is good it’s important,” said Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, “but we still have work to do.”
  • With back-to-back wins over Golden State Tuesday night and now Phoenix the Thunder has swept five sets of back-to-backs this season.
  • Kevin Durant and James Harden led the Thunder with 22 points, Harden was 7-for-9 from the field and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. OKC shot 53.8% and is now 22-3 when shooting over 50%.
    “We had to help each other out in the second half,” Harden said. “We picked it up and played well. Bring Perk (Kendrick Perkins) to the team has really helped us on defense. We’ve been talking to each other more and just helping each other out.”
    “It was another good win for us,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks. “I thought Russell (Westbrook) showed a lot of leadership and made the right plays. He was guarding one of the best point guards (Steve Nash) in the game. He made it tough on him. I really thought everybody chipped in.”
    “It was a good win for us,” Westbrook told reporters, “but we still have room for improvement.”
  • With the win the Thunder stays five games ahead of Denver for the Northwest Division championship with just eight games left.
    “We’re not concerned about magic numbers,” said Brooks, “we just wanna win games. We just need to continue pushing the team in the right direction heading into the playoffs.”
  • After grabbing 13 rebounds but scoring 0 points last night, Kendrick Perkins gets off to a hot start on offense hitting three of his first four shots and scoring six points midway through the first quarter.
  • Thunder offense on a nice streak toward the end of the first quarter going 6-for-7 from the field.
  • Offense sharing the ball well at the beginning of the game, eight assists on 12 made baskets in the first quarter.
  • Offense continues to be good through the first half, scoring 55 points on 54.3% shooting. Oklahoma City out-rebounded Phoenix in the first half 21-15.
  • Thunder defense holds Phoenix to 8-for-20 shooting in the third quarter.
  • Strong first half of the fourth quarter for the Thunder as they pull out to a 17 point lead after KD buries a three ball with 5:18 left in the game.
  • James Harden playing great defense on Vince Carter in the second half limiting him to just 1-for-8 from the field in the first 19 minutes of the second half.
  • Phoenix trying to stay in the game late by fouling Kendrick Perkins but he hits four straight from the foul line to sink that strategy.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW: Early in the game Thabo Sefolosha with a tap back to Russell Westbrook to keep a possession alive...Thunder defense denies Grant Hill on a fast break, three Thunder players get back to stop Hill and force a bad shot...Serge Ibaka moves into an open area in the lane after his man goes out to double team Russell Westbrook, Westbrook finds Ibaka with a pass and Serge scores. Good recognition from Serge top get to the open spot...Good ball movement by the Thunder in the first quarter...Nazr Mohammed and Nick Collison with great defense on Robin Lopez they double team him down low and Collison blocks his shot...Two possessions later Mohammed gets a block to spark a fast break led by James Harden who is fouled at the other end...James Harden and Russell Westbrook pester Vince Carter into a turnover late in the first half triggering a fast break and Westbrook scores...Kevin Durant with good defense on Marcin Gortat to start the second half forcing him into a bad shot that misses, Thunder gets the rebound...Serge Ibaka grabs an offensive rebound gets the ball to Durant who gets a great screen from Kendrick Perkins and KD hits a three ball...Nick Collison grabs an offensive rebound to keep a Thunder possession alive and Thabo Sefolosha gets the bucket...Collison, despite his sore ankle, picks up a charging call on Jared Dudley midway through the third quarter...Westbrook steps into the passing lane and swipes a pass, triggering a fast break basket scored by Sefolosha...Ibaka skies for an offensive rebound late in the third quarter off a Durant miss, Collison then knocks down a long jumper just as the shot clock expires...Harden with really good defense on Vince Carter in the fourth quarter forcing off of the low block and into a bad shot, which misses...Thunder offense and defense clicking in the fourth quarter and OKC pulls out to a 17 point lead...Kendrick Perkins staying with Steve Nash out front, then Durant blocks a shot from Marcin Gortat...

STATS WORTH REPEATING: The Thunder had five players in double figures...Oklahoma City held the Suns Vince Carter to just 1-for-8 shooting in the second half...The Thunder defense blocked 11 shots, one shy of the season high, Durant and Serge Ibaka had three rejections apiece...The Thunder shot 61.9% in the fourth quarter and scored 14 points off Phoenix turnovers in the second half, the Suns scored just two points off Thunder giveaways...Oklahoma City’s .875 winning percentage in March (14-2) is the best in franchise history.

LAST WORD: “We’re on our way now,” Westbrook said, “Defending and mental toughness are the biggest things for us.”

UP NEXT: The western road trip continues with a trip to the great northwest. The Thunder will play the Portland Trail Blazers for the second time in less than a week Friday night. Tip-off inside the Rose Garden is set for 9 p.m. Friday. You can watch all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.