The Phoenix Suns may be of the “never say die” mindset lately, but Wednesday night’s scoreboard told a different story.
After a valiant effort, Phoenix (18-16) lost a close one in overtime to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 137-134.
Russell Westbrook was ejected 7.8 seconds before halftime following two technicals and plenty of jawing with Phoenix’s Alex Len (who also picked up a flagrant foul after getting mixed up with Westbrook when going for a rebound). Westbrook had scored 20 points already by the time he was ejected.
Eric Bledsoe capitalized off the Thunder star’s absence, pouring in 29 points and was complemented by Markieff Morris with 25 and Goran Dragic with 21. But the three players’ combined offense could hardly counter reigning MVP Kevin Durant, whose 44 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in his return from a six-game absence were an astounding contribution to Oklahoma City’s win.
Phoenix managed to knot things up at 128 to send the game into overtime, but then went 0-for-6 through four minutes, only scoring off two free throws by Marcus Morris.
A putback jam by P.J. Tucker brought the Suns back in it, yet a poor 3-point effort by Markieff for the potential go-ahead fell short and the Suns were sent home with the loss.
What did the game look like, by the numbers?
This is the second straight road loss for the Suns, who are 11-9 away from U.S. Airways Center.
Phoenix has only seen three overtime games so far this season and has lost each time.
Seven combined technical fouls were called on both teams, including five in the final 30 seconds of the first half alone.
44, 10, 7
Durant’s 44 points were a game-high and he also contributed 10 rebounds and seven assists. He was 13-of-23 from the field and made 6-of-11 3-pointers and was 100 percent from the freebie line (12-of-12).
This stellar performance came after a six-game hiatus due to a right ankle sprain.
Phoenix’s 134 points were its highest all season. Previously the Suns had hit 124 points against Dallas on Dec. 23.
The Thunder hurt Phoenix on the glass, grabbing 50 rebounds over the Suns’ 39.
Both teams had 14 total turnovers, but when capitalizing off those turnovers, the Suns had the edge: they scored 25 points off Oklahoma City’s 14 miscues as opposed to the Thunder’s 19.
The Suns have now lost eight straight games in Oklahoma City, and haven’t won in OKC since 2010.