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Suns Strokes: Lethargic effort equates to thunderous beatdown in OKC

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns’ 127-96 loss to the Thunder on February 8.

The Good:

Goran Dragic couldn’t miss in the first quarter, scoring 16 points on 7-of-10 from the field. The problem for Dragic, however, is that Russell Westbrook and Co. clamped down at the defensive end over the final 36 minutes. The Slovenian finished with three points the rest of the way.

While plenty of his points came when the game was out of reach, Michael Beasley found his touch at the offensive end after a two-game lull. Beasley scored a game-high 25 points, eight of which came in the final 47 seconds of the third quarter.

The Bad:

At least the Suns have been consistent in one category this season, third quarter drop-off. After trailing by only five at halftime, Phoenix put together a clunker of a third frame getting outscored 36-20. The quarter featured one of the Suns’ worst stretches of the 2012-13 season, as they allowed the Thunder to go on a rather easy 19-0 run.

Outside of Dragic’s impressive first quarter, the Suns starters could have taken the night off as they were, for lack of a better phrase, utterly ineffective.

P.J. Tucker, Jared Dudley, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat combined for a total of 11 points on 5-of-17 from the field. To put that in perspective, five Oklahoma City players outscored that quartet by themselves.

He Said It:

“This is no reason to hang our heads. They have played in the Finals and they know what it’s like, and a lot of our guys don’t. This will be a positive teaching tool for us. It’s something to learn from and something to never forget.” — Suns interim head coach Lindsey Hunter


• Friday’s 31-point loss marked the Suns’ largest margin of defeat since getting embarrassed by 40 on November 28 against the Detroit Pistons.

• In their 40-point loss at Detroit, Phoenix’s starting five scored just 33 points. Friday’s mark of 30 points surpassed that as the worst scoring performance of the 2012-13 season.

• The Thunder have now beaten the Suns three times, and they’ve done so in convincing fashion. Oklahoma City has won by an average over 20.3 points per victory.

Up Next:

The Suns will could their home-and-home series with the Thunder Sunday at US Airways Center. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 6:00 p.m. MST.