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Warren doesn’t play, Jackson leaves with knee injury in Suns’ loss to OKC

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) is fouled by Phoenix Suns guard Josh Jackson, left, as he shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Phoenix Suns were already down one of their most important players at the start of Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and they lost another after the first half.

Small forward T.J. Warren would miss the game due to back spasms and wing Josh Jackson would not return in the second half due to a left knee injury.

Warren was not listed on the injury report Wednesday while Jackson did not appear to have a notable play in which the injury took place.

The team said after the game that an MRI showed no structural injury and Jackson is day-to-day with a left knee irritation.

Jackson, the 21-year-old rookie out of Kansas, started the game shooting 1-for-8 in place of Warren. He had been enjoying the best form of his very young career, coming off a February that saw him average 17.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field.

Warren, meanwhile, has averaged a career-high 19.7 points per game this season.

As expected, the Suns struggled without the two players who have been their second and third-best offensive players next to Devin Booker in the past month.

While Booker had 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting in the first half, the rest of the team shot a combined 7-for-32 and were down 49-38.

With rookie Davon Reed starting the second half and no real offensive help around Booker, the Thunder predictably blew the doors off the Suns to start the second half. In under six minutes, Oklahoma City went on a 21-10 run to make it a 20-point deficit for Phoenix.

Booker would finish with 30, but the Thunder continued to extend the lead and beat the Suns 115-87.

Tyson Chandler (10) was the only other Phoenix player to score in double figures.

Russell Westbrook had 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, Paul George added 21 and Steven Adams had 16 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double.

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