The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Phoenix Suns, 97-69. Completing the season sweep over the Suns, the Thunder controlled this game at the outset, overwhelming the Suns with stingy defense and consistent offense.
In a bit of a surprise, once again the Thunder were led offensively in part by Thabo Sefolosha, who scored 20 points on 7-11 shooting, including 5-7 from 3-point range. Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 24 points with 6 assists and 4 steals, and Kevin Durant chipped in with 18 points and 7 rebounds.
The offensively challenged Suns were led by reserve forward Markieff Morris, who finished with 12 points and 4 rebounds.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Out of respect for a Suns fanbase who loyally supports their team even in the midst of this season-long deconstruction, we'll keep this recap short and to the point.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The Thunder continued their domination over the Suns by routing them for a second consecutive game. Going back to the previous match-up on Friday, the Thunder outscored the Suns in the 2nd half of that game 72-46, and permitted the Suns offense to score only 69 points this time out. This means that over the course of the last game and a half, OKC gave up only 115 points total.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
Two quick statistics:
1) Thabo Sefolosha is quickly turning into a Bruce Bowen kind of player. Once again he was the defensive stopper while providing great 3-point shooting. Sefolosha is now shooting 40% from behind the arc and shot 9-13 from 3-point range in these two games vs the Suns while scoring 38 points.
2) Russell Westbrook scored 24 points. The Suns starting lineup scored 26 points. Combined.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder can mercifully leave the Suns behind and not have to worry about them anymore, as they continue their big push toward All-Star break. In the next game out, the OKC interior defense will be tested as they face the Utah Jazz in Utah.
The Jazz always present a tough match-up challenge, and they are currently battling to hold onto a low seed playoff spot. As much as I'd love for them to stay there (and keep the Lakers out of the playoffs all together), this next game will be a good challenge for the Thunder defense. If OKC can continue to pressure the ball on the perimeter, they can take away some of what the Jazz like to do in the paint.
Thunder Wonder: Thabo Sefolosha, 20 points on 7-11 shooting, 5-7 from 3-point range
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, 24 points, 6 assists, 4 steals
Thunder Blunder: Kendrick Perkins, who posted a donut after scoring 17 the last time out.
Thunder Plunderer: Markieff Morris, 12 points, 4 rebounds.
Next game: @ the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 8PM CDT
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