Schedule doesn’t get any easier for struggling Suns with Thunder up next
Kevin Durant said that he isn’t scared of who his Oklahoma City Thunder just lost to.
The team’s next opponent certainly isn’t scaring anybody these days.
The visiting Thunder will be heavily favored Monday night to hand the free-falling Phoenix Suns an eighth straight defeat.
Oklahoma City (38-14) fell 116-108 at Golden State in Saturday’s matchup between top NBA contenders. Durant had 40 points and 14 rebounds and Russell Westbrook scored 27 with 12 assists.
The Thunder, who had won five straight and 12 of 13, trail the Warriors and San Antonio in the Western Conference.
"Man, we’re not scared of either one of these teams," Durant said. "We’re going to play our game. Nobody in this locker room is scared. We have to play them. If we want to get to where we want to get to, we have to play them. We’re not ducking anybody."
There won’t be much to fear Monday in this matchup of a Thunder team averaging 109.8 points per 100 possessions to rank second in the league against a Suns club decimated by injuries that is at 99.7 to rank fourth-worst.
Phoenix (14-38) isn’t even on its longest slide, having already dropped nine in a row. It’s all part of a stretch of 22 losses in 24 games for the Suns’ worst record in franchise history in such a span.
They fell to 0-3 since coach Jeff Hornacek was fired following Saturday’s 98-89 home defeat to Utah, although the Suns took pride in cutting a 23-point deficit down to six with 1:34 left.
"It just shows our fight," guard Devin Booker said. "We’re not going to give up. That’s been the motto of our team all year. We might lose games but we’re going to lay it all out there, and that’s what we’ve been doing."
If that sounds like Phoenix is ready to accept moral victories, Oklahoma City certainly isn’t despite nearly ending Golden State’s regular-season home win streak at 40 games. The Thunder fell behind by as many as 20 points before tying the game in the fourth quarter in a playoff-type atmosphere that featured celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyonce in attendance during Super Bowl weekend in the Bay Area.
"That’s what we’re supposed to do," Durant said. "When we get down we’re supposed to tie the game up. No moral victories in here."
Durant’s effort came one game after he capped a 37-point night with the winning 3-pointer in Wednesday’s 117-114 home victory over Orlando. Westbrook entered Saturday with three straight triple-doubles before being held to three rebounds.
Enes Kanter had 14 points and 15 rebounds. The center is averaging 17.2 points on 63.2 percent shooting in his last five games.
Durant’s first two seasons came alongside Earl Watson as a teammate. Watson took over as interim Suns coach when Hornacek was fired after a 91-78 loss at Dallas on Jan. 31.
The Suns are without injured top scorers Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. They are rebuilding around young players like the rookie Booker, averaging 20.4 points in his last five games.
Oklahoma City will face Phoenix for the first time without Knight and the second time without Bledsoe after taking the first two meetings at home. Durant and Westbrook totaled 112 of the Thunder’s 234 points.
- Brandon Knight
- Devin Booker
- Enes Kanter
- Eric Bledsoe
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- FOX Sports Arizona - Suns
- Kevin Durant
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Phoenix Suns
- Russell Westbrook