Bender Posts Multiple Career-Highs in Suns Win Over Thunder

by Cody Cunningham

In a game against one of the top ranked teams in the Western Conference, the Suns came out setting career-highs after career-highs as they walked away with a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“It was a great win for us today,” Josh Jackson said. “I think we played great. Probably the most fun we’ve had as a team all year.”

When talking about who had good games for the Suns, it’s difficult to know where to begin. So why not start with the youngest player on the roster, Dragan Bender.

Bender had quite possibly his best overall game in the NBA. He scored a career-high 20 points off of another career-high six threes. He shot an efficient 75 percent from beyond the arc and was a huge spark off the bench, especially in the second half.

“It’s a lot of fun just being out there making all those shots just trying to win the game[MC1] ,” Bender said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about that---having fun on the court is definitely something we look forward to.”

Bender also tied a career-high with four assists as he had his third straight game with at least four assists. Defensively, the seven-footer was also on lockdown as he finished the game with three blocks and showed off his hustle grabbing six rebounds.

Now for the other 20-year-old, Jackson. The rookie knocked down three three-pointers as he scored 17 points off the bench. Jackson grabbed 10 rebounds and finished with his first-career double-double. Oh, and he also had a career-high five assists.

“It’s great,” Head Coach Jay Triano said about Bender and Jackson. “We’re trying to develop young players here and they both stepped up big time today and it was great. I thought they really played well together. Josh would drive and kick and find Dragan on the perimeter and I think there’s a comfort level really developing with those two.”

The go-to scoring duo of Devin Booker and TJ Warren scored a combined 49 points as the Suns defeated the Thunder 114-100.

Overall, the Suns managed to have one of their best, if not their best game of the season. The team knocked down a season-high 17 threes, surpassing the 14 they made on Oct. 20 against the Lakers.

The Suns also managed a season-low nine turnovers against a Thunder team who lead the league in steals per game (9.59) and opponent turnovers per game (16.6)

“We like the way we played,” Triano said. “We shot a lot of threes, which is what we want to do. We got into our drive and kick game. I thought we were solid defensively. I think they missed a bunch of shots as well. This is a game that we feel really good about and it’s a step for us. It’s a step for us for sure.”

The Suns will look to continue this momentum through the week as they gear-up to face the Houston Rockets on Friday[MC2] . It will be 90’s Decade Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena as the first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a Charles Barkley bobblehead curtesy of Ticketmaster.

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