Here Comes The Suns: Phoenix Tops Thunder In Wild Shootout

Friday, March 7th 2014, 12:10 am
By: News 9

If you love hard-nosed, rugged NBA defensive battles – this wasn't the game for you.

Gerald Green came into Thursday's game averaging 15 points per game. He dropped 41. Green was instrumental as the upstart Suns came from behind to take down the West's top team, 128-122 in the Valley of the Sun.

This one was a classic from start to finish. 

Russell Westbrook, still playing with a minutes-cap, made the most of his first-quarter time. Westbrook scored 13 points on 6-7 shooting as the Thunder exploded for a 41-point first. It was a season-high for points in a quarter by a Suns opponent.  But Phoenix wasn't just standing around, scoring 32 points itself.

The shootout was on, and neither team let up for 48 minutes.

The Suns stormed back, outscoring OKC 29-24 in the second period to get back in it. The Thunder held a 65-61 halftime lead, but the craziness was just getting started.

Oklahoma City held a 96-80 lead late in the third quarter, but Markieff Morris' jumper with 3:19 left turned the game on a dime. The Suns exploded on a 21-2 run to end the third quarter, seizing a 101-98 lead.

Gerald Green scored 25 points in the third quarter alone, draining six 3-pointers to lead the Phoenix charge.

The Suns didn't stop there, opening the fourth quarter on a 7-3 spurt to take a 108-101 advantage – but the Thunder wasn't going away.

Westbrook scored 13 points in a five-minute period, leading OKC back to a 116-116 tie. Then with 4:09 to play, Serge Ibaka's monster dunk gave the Thunder its first lead of the period.

But this was the Suns' night. Goran Dragic and Morris combined for Phoenix' next eight points, putting the Thunder away in a raucous US Airways Center.

"We gave up too many points," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.  "They made 15 3's on us and we put 'em on the free-throw line 39 times. We play against these teams that are small and fast and quick; we have to do a better job of communicating in transition. We got lost, we got beat off the dribble too many times tonight."

Phoenix wore special "Los Suns" uniforms, commemorating the NBA's Noche Latina campaign. To celebrate, Green was en fuego. Included in his career-high scoring night was a ridiculous 8-13 performance from downtown.

Dragic finished with 22 points while Morris dominated off the bench, scoring 24 points and grabbing six boards. The other Morris brother, Marcus, also played well for Phoenix, scoring 15 points on 5-7 shooting off the Suns' bench.

Westbrook was spectacular for OKC. In just 30 minutes, Russ dropped 36 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. He was 4-9 from deep.

"One thing I love about Russell, he's gonna give us everything he has," Brooks said. "I thought he had a great game on both ends of the floor. He played with a lot of determination tonight. I think his minutes are right there where we want 'em. Going into next game, right around the same."

Kevin Durant finished with 34 points and seven rebounds.  It was the 27th straight game in which Durant has scored 25 or more points. His career-high is 29 straight games.

Caron Butler brought a scoring spark in his second game as a member of the Thunder. Butler scored 14 points on 4-8 from 3-point range off the Thunder bench.

The Thunder shot 50 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point range. OKC was also a perfect 19-19 from the line. 

Phoenix shot 52.5 percent from the field and a whopping 55.6 percent from downtown. The Suns also outrebounded the Thunder 44-33.

"They got hot," Durant explained.  They hit some shots, man, you gotta give 'em credit. They got hot at the right time. Gerald Green hit like five or six in a row, that deflates the whole team."

Oklahoma City fell to 46-16 and into a first-place tie in the loss column with the Spurs. The Thunder heads to Los Angeles to play the downtrodden Lakers on Sunday afternoon.