Oklahoma City put together its most complete performance of the season on Sunday night as the Thunder cooled down the Suns by winning 124-103 to snap its three-game losing streak.
The Thunder improved to 4-3 overall behind 64 points in the paint and 14 steals on the defensive end.
Kevin Durant led OKC with 32 points and 11 rebounds, and the “Slim Reaper” constantly wowed the OKC crowd by nailing one difficult shot after another.
Russell Westbrook was on point throughout the entire night, and his ferocity carried the Thunder. The point guard took a methodical approach in the first quarter—dishing six assists and swiping three steals. Westbrook was then more assertive with his shooting in the final three quarters and finished the night with 21 points, 13 assists and six rebounds.
Oklahoma City built up a commanding 15-point lead midway through the first quarter, but then the starters checked out of the game and the bench unit struggled to sustain the lead. Phoenix was able to claw back and tie the game before the end of the first frame.
Thunder bench can't hold lead. Suns down 3. #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) November 9, 2015
Despite their struggles, Billy Donovan decided to stick with the lineup of D.J. Augustin, Dion Waiters, Kyle Singler, Mitch McGary and Enes Kanter to start the second quarter. That second unit was able to regroup while the starters began to trickle back into the game and get the OKC lead back up to 60-54 before halftime.
Whatever Donovan told his team at intermission, it worked. Oklahoma City was able to extend its lead to double-digits in the third quarter, and the Thunder were able to add more fuel to the fire with the second unit and held a 12-point lead heading into the final frame.
The reserves maintain, Thunder 89 Suns 77 after 3. #News9Thunder— Steve McGehee (@SteveMcGehee) November 9, 2015
The Suns cut their lead to nine points with 8:14 left in the game, but that ignited OKC to put the game away.
Kanter grabbed an offensive rebound off an Augustin missed free throw, and the Turkish center was able to go up strong and finish his layup attempt while getting fouled to extend the Thunder lead to 13 after he completed the three-point play. A Dion Waiters bucket about a minute later pushed the Thunder lead 15 points, then on the next offensive possession, Durant pulled up from behind the three-point arc with confidence and electrified the home crowd by nailing the money ball to extend the Thunder lead to 18.
Oklahoma City never looked back, and finished strong in front of a rowdy crowd that was thirsting for a win.
Kanter led the bench in scoring with 21 points to go with seven rebounds, while Dion Waiters had his best game since the opener with 19 points of his own. If Kanter and Waiters can continue that production from a bench role, the Thunder will be hard to slow down for four quarters.
Oklahoma City will be back in action on Tuesday when Durant has his homecoming in Washington DC as the Thunder faces the Wizards at 6 p.m.