Durant Passes Jordan, Thunder Falls To Suns

Monday, April 7th 2014, 12:10 am
By: News 9

 Kevin Durant cut out a little piece of history on Sunday night but a late Thunder collapse soured the record-setting performance in the desert.

The Suns took over late to hand Oklahoma City its second-consecutive loss in a 122-115 decision at the US Airways Center.

After OKC rallied back from a 14-point third-quarter deficit, the teams had a back-and-forth final quarter that featured six ties and nine lead changes. However, the Thunder's recent knack for slipping in the final minutes reared its ugly head once again, as Phoenix outscored Oklahoma City 11-3 in the final 2:39.

If there was a silver lining to be found in this one, it was most certainly provided by No. 35.

Durant left nobody sitting on the edge of their seat wondering if he'd pass Michael Jordan's modern-day scoring record, cruising past the 25-point mark to finish with a game-best 38.

Durant hit the 25-point mark for the 41st-consecutive time, surpassing MJ's 40-game streak from the 1986-87 season, and he did it in style.

With 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Durant blew past Marcus Morris at the 3-point line with a crossover and sliced through the lane for a ferocious two-handed throwdown that drew oohs and aahs from the opposing crowd.

While there were certainly high points on the evening for KD, he still didn't look quite like himself in pursuit of the mark.

For the third-straight game, Durant struggled to find a rhythm and forced up a lot more 3's than Thunder fans are accustomed to seeing. In fact, KD shot a career-high 15 from behind the arc on Sunday. He made only four of them. Durant was just 13-of-28 from the floor overall.

The good news potentially is that he looked to regain a modicum of usual fluidity after passing Jordan, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter on 5-of-8 shooting and was 2-of-3 from the foul line.

Russell Westbrook's performance will be overshadowed by KD' record outing but it shouldn't go unnoticed.

Westbrook had his second-best scoring outing since returning from injury on Feb. 20. Russ finished with 33 points on 12-of-26 shooting to go with eight assists and four rebounds.

His only higher-scoring outing since his return also came in a loss to the Suns, when he scored 36 in a 128-122 defeat on March 6.

But even with a combined 71 points coming from Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder couldn't overcome a complete team effort from the Suns.

Six Phoenix players scored in double figures, led by 26 from Goran Dragic on an efficient 11-for-19 shooting outing.

And Durant wasn't the only former Texas Longhorn with a defining performance, as Suns forward P.J. Tucker scored a career-high 22 points, including a career-best four 3-pointers to propel Phoenix a game ahead of Memphis for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Gerald Green had OKC's number again, scoring 24 on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3. Green scored 41 against the Thunder on March 6.

The Suns (46-31) shot a torrid 58.4 percent from the field, including 11-of-23 from 3-point range. Oklahoma City shot a decent 47.6 percent clip but shot far too many 3's, finishing just 9-of-32 (28 percent) from behind the arc.

With the loss, the Thunder dropped to 55-21 and is now a full 4.5 games back of the Spurs for the one seed in the West.

But OKC should perhaps be more focused on protecting its No. 2 spot at this point.

With the Thunder's loss and a Clippers win on Sunday, the Thunder sits just a game ahead of the Clips for the two seed with six games left in the regular season. The two teams face off in a big one in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Next up for Oklahoma City is a trip to Sacramento on Tuesday at 9 p.m.