Thunder 116, Suns 98
Their best regular-season month in franchise history is over.
The Oklahoma City Thunder look for even better things ahead in the
Kevin Durant and James Harden scored 22 points and the Oklahoma
City Thunder completed the best month in franchise history with a
116-98 victory over the fading Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Michael Westbrook added 16, Serge Ibaka 15 and Kendrick Perkins
13 as the Thunder won their fifth in a row, 11th in their last 12
and 50th of the season.
It’s the first consecutive 50-win seasons for the franchise
”After my first two seasons, we went from 21 wins to 50 win
seasons, that is a big turnaround for us and something that can’t
be overlooked,” Durant said. ”I know it is the regular season and
it means a lot, but in the postseason it is kind of out the window.
It does feel good to get 50 wins as a young group.”
Their 14-2 March was the best monthly record in franchise
history. As the Seattle SuperSonics, they went 14-3 twice – in
March of 1994 and November of 1996.
”We’re just on a roll,” Harden said.
Vince Carter, now coming off the bench for Phoenix, scored 28 in
the Suns’ fourth straight loss. Three of Carter’s top four scoring
games for the Suns have come against Oklahoma City. Carter was
benched three games ago in favor of Jared Dudley.
”I just kept playing through it,” Carter said. ”I just tried
to relieve those guys and play tough for them. They played a rough
one last night (a loss at Sacramento) and we pride ourselves on
everyone contributing, so I did just that. I was being aggressive
and hit a few shots in the post and just got going and stuck with
Referee Kenny Mauer threw out Suns reserves Aaron Brooks and
Zabian Dowdell with 1:05 to play.
Oklahoma City outscored Phoenix 37-25 in the fourth quarter.
”It was a bad night for us,” Suns center Marcin Gortat said.
”We played terrible defense. We played with no toughness or
Phoenix trailed 55-51 at the half and never caught the Thunder
The Suns cut it to one twice, the last time at 60-59 on Gortat’s
dunk. But Westbrook made a driving layup, Dudley was called for an
offensive foul, then Westbrook made a 7-foot runner and Oklahoma
City led 64-59.
Collison’s 20-footer with 6 seconds left put the Thunder up
79-73 after three quarters.
Harden sank a 3-pointer and had a three-point play sandwiched
around Eric Manor’s 3-pointer in a 8-2 spurt that put Oklahoma City
up 87-77. Durant’s 3-pointer with 5:18 remaining put the Thunder
ahead 92-80 5:18 from the finish.
Oklahoma City outscored Phoenix 23-9 to start the final quarter
to go up 102-82 after Perkins made four free throws in a row.
”We just can’t seem to put any offense together to start the
fourth quarter,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. ”That’s where most
of the teams seem to be getting separation between us.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks called Westbrook the unsung hero of
”He’s had better stats in the past, but he really controlled
the game,” Brooks said. ”He was active on the ball and I thought
his command of the game put us in a position to win tonight.”
Notes: With their 115-114 victory over Golden State on Tuesday
night, the Thunder became the fifth team in NBA history to win
eight overtime games in a season. … Phoenix fell two games under
.500 for the first time since a Feb. 4 home loss to Oklahoma City.
… The Thunder completed their fifth sweep of back-to-back games