The Oklahoma City Thunder have fallen to their second straight defeat, this time at the hands of the Phoenix Suns who once again handled the Thunder with terrific outside shooting and a sense of urgency that the Thunder just couldn’t subdue.
With the Phoenix Suns fighting to extend their season into the playoffs, they came out with a great deal of intensity at home and put their noses in front from the word go. They moved the ball well, pressured Oklahoma City on both ends of the floor and they made their shots. While they struggled from the foul line early, they managed to make them when they counted as the game was in the balance in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder allowed the Suns to shoot 54% from the floor and make 11 of their 23 shot attempts from down town. PJ Tucker had a career night and that included 4 from 5 behind the arc. Gerald Green also got in on the action nailing 5 from 7 from the three point line.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s inability to close out the shooters and defend the three point shot was again evident, but it wasn’t the sole reason for the loss.
While the Thunder received terrific performances from their stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, their supporting cast was relatively quiet. Durant kept his streak of 25+ point games alive, now at 41 and surpasses Jordan’s feat of 40 but it was in vain. Even the 38 points and 11 rebounds he delivered could secure the Thunder a victory. Westbrook was back after being rested against the Rockets and he poured in 33 points of his own and added 8 assists.
The Thunder now sit four and a half games behind the San Antonio Spurs with the #1 seed looking all but lost to them. They now need to focus on securing the #2 seed with the Los Angeles Clippers breathing down their neck at just one game behind.
The Oklahoma City Thunder now have a night off (as does the rest of the NBA for the NCAA Championship Game (Kentucky Wildcats vs Connecticut Huskies) and they will need to play with the urgency the Suns used to defeat them in this one. There are just six games remaining and a couple of those are going to be extremely tough (Clippers and Pacers especially) in the run home. The Thunder will need to address their defensive lapses and find some form as they take aim at the playoffs.
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