No defense as OKC gets blown out by Phoenix

With the Oklahoma City Thunder in the thick of a playoff race, they laid a big fat egg in Phoenix tonight as the Thunder lost 120-99 on Friday night.

Oklahoma City fell to 45-34 on the season and are now 2½ games back of the Clippers for fifth place.

This was maybe the worst performance of year from Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. They struggled all night long, even when they were within 12, they just didn’t seem to care they were playing a basketball game that mattered. Oklahoma City needed this win and the Thunder choked.

Westbrook missed his first 11 shots and the Thunder fell behind by 28 points in the first half and were really never able to overcome it.

Phoenix led 71-43 with 1:05 left until halftime, but the Thunder scored the final five points of the half, cutitng it to 71-48 at the break.

Oklahoma City came out scorching the earth, cut it to within 77-66 and were as close as 82-70 in the third but really never could find their rhythm in the contest.

Phoenix’s Devin Booker, who scored 70 points earlier this season, was electric in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 points en route to 37 points tonight. He definitely was the game’s best player tonight.

The Suns jumped out to a 14-2 run on the Thunder to start the game and held the Thunder to a 1-of-7 start from the floor. Westbrook wasn’t involved as much as he tried. He was 0-of-6 from the floor and had six turnovers in the first quarter.

Phoenix close the third quarter on a 11-2 run, pushing their 12-point lead out to 95-72 after three quarters.

Oklahoma City never were back in the game. Cut it to 15 once but never really any closer.

Theh weird point came mid-fourth with the game out of reach, Westbrook kept trying to force passes and the Thunder were missing shots or passing up contested opportunities to get better shots. Westbrook eventually checked out but it was definitely a weird low point for Westbrook and the Thunder, with the assist chasing and all.

Westbrook finished with 23 points on 6-of-25 from the floor, with 12 rebounds, eight assists, and eight turnovers.

The Thunder travel to the Mile High City on Sunday night for a showdown with the Nuggets. Oklahoma City is 2-0 against Denver this season. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers: C

While the Thunder only turned it over nine times, Westbrook had eight of them (Dipo with the other), Oklahoma City seemed to have turned it over every time they needed a real possession. Gotta do better, Russ.

Fast Break: C

Only 11 fast break points from the Thunder tonight. They did outscore the young Suns, but it really wasn’t enough. The Thunder were limited because they didn’t force a lot of turnovers (7), so they weren’t a lot of getting out on the break opportunities.

Bench production: C

34 points for the Thunder’s bench. Probably would’ve been a little bit better had Oklahoma City been healthy tonight. The Thunder really could’ve used McDermott coming off the bench tonight. He hit two big threes.

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