No Andre Roberson and another poor performance at the free throw line saw the Oklahoma City Thunder fall to the Phoenix Suns 114-110 on Sunday evening.
The Thunder are now 22-18 on the season, only a half-game from falling back in the standings.
The Suns now have won three straight against the Thunder. It’s their largest winning streak against Oklahoma City since 2008-09 when the Suns were in the midst of a nine-game win streak against Oklahoma City/Seattle.
Oklahoma City went only 12-of-21 from the free throw line. At one point, the Thunder had missed eight but figured away to make seven of their final eight attempts.
Poor defense and lackluster offense saw Oklahoma City’s early lead turn into a deficit. Oklahoma City went 0-of-7 over the final five minute so of the first quarter, causing a six-point lead to be turned into a five-point deficit.
As the Thunder closed to within one in the second quarter, it was the poorous rebounding and defense that allowed the Suns to jump out on a 13-4 run to lead 62-53 at the break.
The Suns took a 74-60 with 7:56 remaining in the third off a Devin Booker three-pointer. The Suns seemed a step quicker than the Thunder. Their ability to get easy shots were coming easy.
That’s when Westbrook tried took over.
Westbrook was the key in a Thunder’s 15-2 run, pulling Oklahoma City within a stick man. The reigning MVP scored or assisted on 10 of the 15 Thunder points.
Phoenix were able to use Thunder mistakes to increase their lead back to double digits. Booker hit three free throws, pushing the elad back to 87-77 with just over2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Terrance Ferguson, starting in place of the injured Andre Roberson, never found his rhythm fouling out in the fourth quarter after fouling a three-pointer shooter.
Dragan Bender nailed a couple of wide open three-pointers and Josh Jackson found a slam dunk uncontested as the fourth quarter was underway as the Suns pushed their lead out to as many as 18 points in the quarter.
Phoenix’s 17 made three-pointers were the most made by Phoenix since they made 22 against the Lakers in 2010.
Westbrook grabbed his 93rd career triple-double and 14th of the season but it wasn’t enough for the boy in blue. Westbrook finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Oklahoma City will now return home for a single game on the front side of a back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Then, the Thunder look towards their final showdown against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
Keys to the Game
Third quarter: C
Oklahoma City really needed to win the third after struggling throughout the first half. While they did win the quarter, it was really what the Suns did and that was really stay level with Oklahoma City. The Thunder let the Suns open up a 14-point lead but closed to within one but couldn’t get any closer.
Three-point shooting: F
The Suns are now 10-6 when they hit more three-pointers than their opponent. I might be curious as to what their record is when they double their opponents three-pointers? It’s pretty good I suspect. Oklahoma City struggled all game long, while the Suns dominated from beyond the arc, nailing tons of open threes.
Phoenix only out rebounded the Thunder by one but it was the offensive boards that killed Oklahoma City tonight. The Suns scored 23 points on 12 offensive rebounds, which 20 of those came in the first half. The Thunder gave up too many second chance points on the road.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!