Grading the best bench performer for the OKC Thunder and best Sun:
The Thunder’s bench had an underwhelming performance in Phoenix. But Isaiah Joe was one of the bright spots.
Joe’s stat sheet is relatively barren, but his impact exceeds that. Although he is known as a shooter, Joe makes the most of his opportunities on the court defensively.
Anytime a team has to go up against the likes of Durant or Beal; it needs countless players to throw on them and other defenders who can help effectively.
While Joe helped on that side, his one 3-point make was important. Near the end of the third quarter, with the Suns threatening to build up the lead, Joe hit an outside shot to bring the Thunder back within five and get them to the final total of eight bench points.
The former Thunder star had the best night for the Suns, but it was not enough to come away with a win. Durant ended with 28 points to lead the Suns.
While he shot 7-of-18 from the floor, Durant continually got to the free-throw line, nailing all 11 attempts. With nine rebounds, Durant led the Suns out rebounding the OKC Thunder 52-33.
Durant’s length helped him grab those boards and block a few Thunder layup attempts in the third quarter. Overall, Durant had a fine night, but if he and Beal can only combine for 43 on a nightly basis, the Suns could have significant issues without Devin Booker.