Thunder Continues Surge with Win Over Suns in Phoenix

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The Oklahoma City picked up their 10th win in 11 games on Saturday night as they defeated the Phoenix Suns for the third time already this season. The Thunder led by 18 at one point in the third quarter, and though the Suns made a push to keep it close in the fourth, OKC held on to win 110-100.

Oklahoma City started off strong against the Suns, but Phoenix did not do too badly themselves. The Thunder and the Suns battled back and forth and exchanged the lead 12 times in the opening quarter, but OKC outrebounded Phoenix 15-5, which gave the Thunder an edge early. Paul George led Oklahoma City with 9 early points, and Steven Adams added in 6. Despite shooting 9-17 (52.9%) in the first, the Thunder only led 30-25.

The second quarter turned a bit ugly for both teams on the offensive side of the ball. The Thunder shot about as poorly as possible as they went 7-25 (28.0%), but the Suns struggled as well, shooting 9-24 (33.3%). Oklahoma City turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, which contributed to the offensive struggles. The defense was solid for the Thunder, however, and at the half, OKC led 47-42.

The third quarter had a much different feel to start as the Thunder opened things up shooting 7-9 (77.8%) to go on a 17-4 run through the first five minutes of the second half. Phoenix would answer with an 8-0 run of their own before OKC would get back on the board. The Thunder finished the period shooting 11-21 (52.4%) to outscore the Suns 32-23 in the period and to take a 79-65 lead into the fourth quarter.

After trailing for most of the game, the Suns did everything they could in the fourth to get back into the game. With 3:46 left in the game, Phoenix cut the deficit to just 6 points, and they looked like they had a chance to steal the game away, but the Thunder pushed back and stayed on top to finish strong and move to 10-5 on the season.

Thunder Player of the Game

Steven Adams had his best game of the season tonight shooting 11-15 (73.3%) from the field and 4-5 (80%) from the free throw line for 26 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Adams had a solid start to the game to push the Thunder out front, but it was the way that he finished that helped OKC finish strong. After the Suns cut the Thunder lead to 6 points with just under 4 minutes left in the game, Adams scored on back-to-back possessions to push the lead back to double digits. His hustle and toughness is what often gives Oklahoma City an edge down low, and he definitely proved that to be the case tonight.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • No Russ? No Problem: Russell Westbrook is on the brink of return, but he missed his fifth consecutive game tonight. The Thunder cannot wait to see him return to the lineup, but in the meantime, OKC has done a solid job of winning without him. Outside of the loss in Dallas a week ago, the Thunder is playing really well lately.
  • Too Many Turnovers: The game was a little too close for comfort in the first half, and that was primarily due to the Thunder’s 12 turnovers before halftime. OKC’s season-high in turnovers is 18, and they were on pace to blow that out of the water before making adjustments at the half. The Thunder ended up tying the season-high, but they looked much cleaner in the second half.
  • Free Throws Make the Difference: For the last couple of seasons, the Thunder has struggled to take advantage of opportunities at the charity stripe, and this season has been no different. With that being said, OKC has shot fire from the free throw line this week. The Thunder shot 27-32 (84.4%) tonight to make it 56-64 (87.5%) through this week’s 3 games. That’s a long ways from the 68.8% that OKC shot through the first 12 games of the season, and it’s that kind of improvement that will make the Thunder dangerous as the season continues.

Slide Over to Sacramento

The Thunder stays on the road as they head to Sacramento to take on the Kings on Monday night. The Thunder lost to the Kings in Sacramento earlier in the season, but the Kings have lost 5 of their last 7 to move to 8-8 on the season. Tip-off is set for 9 PM and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.

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