The Thunder got back to their winning ways on Monday night in Oklahoma City, beating the Phoenix Suns by a final score of 118-101. Paul George led the way with 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Dennis Schroder pitched in 20 points and 9 assists. Steven Adams was particularly dominant in his matchup with rookie Deandre Ayton, as he finished with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals. The Thunder had an uncharacteristically hot night from beyond the arc, hitting 13-of-27 — good for 48.1 percent.
Oklahoma City came out hot to begin the contest, using 10 points apiece from George and Adams, plus a 22-0 run, to build a 32-13 advantage after one quarter of play. That trend continued in the second, as the Thunder cruised and held a 64-40 lead at the halftime break.
The Suns came to life in the third quarter, forcing the Thunder into seven turnovers while outscoring OKC 35-22. All told, Phoenix shot 72 percent from the field in the third and was able to trim the Thunder’s lead to 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
Despite Phoenix trimming the Thunder’s lead to seven at the 7:57 mark of the fourth — far too close for comfort considering the 28-point lead OKC enjoyed in the first half — the Thunder was able to correct course and close this one out behind some timely plays from Schroder. The game was put on ice at the 2:55 mark, when George found Jerami Grant for a fast break alley-oop — one that was tossed high off the backboard before ultimately being thrown down to put the Thunder up 20.
The Thunder moves to 8-5 with the victory — their eighth victory in the last nine games. They’ll return to action on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, when they’ll take on the New York Knicks at 7:00 PM CST. Russell Westbrook is considered ‘questionable’ for that contest.
Best Things in Life: In a totally uncharacteristic sight for sore eyes, the Thunder shot 19-of-20 from the free throw line — good for 95 percent. OKC came in shooting 68 percent from the stripe — so this was wild, man. I didn’t hate it.
PG Bounce Back: Paul George shook off some early season shooting woes, going 11-of-19 from the floor and 6-of-10 from downtown. As per usual, he filled the stat line — but it was his offense that was most encouraging. More of that, good sir.
Feed the Kiwi: Steven Adams steamrolled Deandre Ayton early, scoring 10 points in the first quarter and shooting 7-of-10 in the first half. The offense moved away from him in the final two quarters, as he only took three field goals after halftime. Even still, it was another night of Big Kiwi doing all the little things to perfection.
All the Threes: Like the free throw shooting, it was an out of body experience watching the Thunder shoot from beyond the arc tonight. OKC hit 48.1 percent of their attempts from downtown against Phoenix — a likely unsustainable, yet wonderful for one night, viewing experience.
Good Dennis: Schroder got off to an abysmal start from the field, going 1-for-11 before finding his rhythm and hitting five of his next seven attempts. He wrapped up his night with 20 points, 9 assists, and 4 steals — and I’m ready for him to head back to the bench because Raymond Felton isn’t doing the trick with the second unit.
PG on the Defense: